“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.
Thank you so much for this article. My heart is breaking with the happenings in the world caused by a minority of people in the country voting in a heartless president. As a former teacher from Michigan, I am really distressed by the approval of the new Secretary of Education. I turned of all the noise and spend a long. long while reading the article and crying. Sometimes that is what we need. Thank you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write and to share your thoughts. I’m more than pleased that you read the article about Mr. Rogers and found it meaningful. And I appreciate your ability to turn off the noise, as you put. That is an important part of self-care and kindness. 🙂
To raviolikid: I fully understand where you are… it is very difficult for me as a 72 year old to observe what is happening in America … my parents as well as my husband’s taught us that we who had more, needed to help those less successful, or those fleeing oppression… but now it seems it is every man for himself and the rest be damned. I find it difficult to even begin to understand how our country got to this place. My heart is with you… my children grew up with Mr Rogers and they are still loving and kind people who try to help those less fortunate. May we all unite!