Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

By Rosie Moore

When my children were youngsters in elementary school, they would hurry home to watch TV.

They didn’t watch  Lost In Space, The Twilight Zone, Hogan’s Heroes, or Gunsmoke. They watched a program for children narrated by a laid-back, soft-spoken Pennsylvanian named Fred Rogers. His episodes would always start the same way. He was seen coming home, changing into sneakers (he said they didn’t make any noise like regular shoes), slipping into a zippered sweater (his mother made all his sweaters) and feeding his fish.

He was a pacifist and also an ordained Presbyterian minister, born in 1928, passed away in 2003. A man of many talents, he was a composer, author and also played the organ. But he wasn’t interested in preaching, his passion was creating and contributing to wholesome children’s television programs. He was displeased with the way television addressed children. His first job was at a community-sponsored educational television station which included music and puppets.

Later it evolved into his neighborhood program. He wrote many books for children with subjects concerning them, such as: “Going to the Doctor,” “Making Friends” and “When A Pet Dies.”

He acted the same way off of television as he did on it. He was a vegetarian and didn’t smoke or drink. Here is an excerpt from one of his books, “Making Friends:”

Making friends is one of the nicest experiences of growing up–but it’s not the easiest. Learning to play and share with others can often bring up questions and feelings that need to be talked about. When children do make their first social connection, it’s usually side by side. They might play next to each other in the same area. That’s how friendship begins–with the understanding that  “you’re someone else” and “I’m someone else.”

We need a “neighborhood” such as Mr. Roger’s, especially now!

Thought for the day: Of all nature’s gifts to the human race, what is sweeter to a man than his children?     Cicero

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