When I first returned to grad school, I remember that I had visions of emulating Mr. Rogers. Not his fame. Not even really his medium of puppetry and television. Just his wholehearted authenticity and work to make the world a better place for children.
I'd kind of forgotten of that inspiration lately so I was delighted to read these letters this morning, via my daily treat read of a site, Letters of Note:
letters via the fabulous Letters of Note
What a remarkable exchange, especially knowing that it was probably replicated hundreds, thousands of times with other young and old correspondents. Just brim-full with compassion and...namaste. It reminded me to look up one of my all-time favorite articles, a 1998 profile of Fred Rogers in Vanity Fair magazine (reposted here; you might want to know there are a couple of profanities).
Indulge me with another favorite (I think I posted this before but I can't find it for sure). I dare you to watch it and take the 10 second challenge he issues.
I can't be Mr. Rogers. I'm just not that guy, not that good or thoroughly guileless, don't have the sweaters or the single-focused discipline.
Over time my interests have evolved to be oriented more around parents than children. But this morning I realized I still take a great dose of inspiration from him. I think parents (everyone, really) experience processes of development and growth and change in their roles with accompanying emotions and challenges that can be equally bewildering and novel. Mr. Rogers's preschooler friends are not the only ones trying to figure out their world and thirsty to know they are known, understood, and supported. We don't outgrow that.
So, in honor of Mr. Rogers, I'd like to say to you, reading this: you are good and capable and special. Just the way you are.
Your blog friend and neighbor,