I grew up watching Mr.Rogers Neighborhood. Along with other PBS shows. Shows that I am convinced shape who I am as with much as my family and the books I read as I grew up.
When I think of Mr. Rogers, I think of the verse below.
“Love your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39
In this age of instant judgment and defensiveness, this kind of love is scandalous. The reality of Mr. Rogers message is that he was as scandalous too. Wearing his cardigan sweater and soothing voice, he taught many how to care and love.
Watch an episode and you see him taking the time to listen to his guests and understand them. He took his time with things and people. Especially children.
I recently watched the documentary Won’t you be My Neighbor, listened on the audio book The Small Faith of Mr.Rogers by Amy Hollingsworth and am in the middle of the new Rogers biography The Good Neighbor (The Life and Work of Fred Rogers) by Maxwell King. Both-available on Hoopla.
One of the most fascinating things about him was his belief that the space between the screen and the audience was sacred ground. Imagine if this idea was endorsed today? That as we all have access to reach so many people to view that space as sacred?
How would this change how we engage with people? That the space where we post things and the person viewing it be considered sacred space? The words we use online whether to make a statement or to comment on something are revealing of our hearts.
That in fact one of the ways to love another is to also care how and what we post online. The same care we take of people in person. Engaging with people instead of simply trying to change their minds.
Fred Rogers understood that the sacred moments were in the small and overlooked. That they take place in the most basic, seemingly mundane moments are indeed sacred.
For myself it has meant being less reactive online. Taking my time to respond if I choose to respond at all. I don’t have a well loved television show as Mr.Rogers did but I do have my small space here and hope to use it well.