“So many people say they want to save the world. Just try your block, will you?” –Rev. Cecil Williams
For this week’s inspiration, it’s not too big of a stretch for me to suggest you consider Mr. Rogers. Yes, THAT Mr. Rogers, the one with the famous TV show, “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.” The show is unique for many reasons, including having very few cuts and edits and therefore feeling very different in this age of fast-moving video snippets. This was all carefully planned and designed as a way to help preschoolers feel safe.
Now I must say that as a kid I really wasn’t in to Mr. Rogers and his TV show, but as an adult he has became one of my heroes and ongoing sources of inspiration. What I most like about Mr. Rogers is his genuineness. I learned that he was consistently himself, whether or not he was being filmed, interviewed, or talking to his wife.
As a teacher and as the founder of a school, I often talk about psychologist Abraham Maslow, the person who coined the term “self-actualization” and developed a theory of human development that I appreciate. I bring up Maslow because I want students to consider the steps toward self actualization. To help, I try to provide an example for them of someone who I feel has achieved that level of development. Not wanting to use the more stereotypical examples, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Gandhi, all of whom seem somehow “out of reach,” I choose Mr. Rogers.
So here, as means of inspiration during a week in which you are asked to do something kind in your neighborhood, it seems fitting to consider Mr. Rogers. Specifically, I encourage you to read this lovely article, one of my all-time favorite pieces of writing, about him. It’s a bit long but well worth the read.