Archive for the ‘Mr. Rogers’ Category

I’m in a phase of life where Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood is the most consistent TV viewing I’m doing. So I have a lot of time to think about it.

Somebody submitted a Postsecret card a few weeks ago that was a Mr. Rogers postcard with a message like, “You didn’t prepare me for how cruel the world could be.” I’ve been thinking about this. I realize that there is some legitimate concern about Rogers’ emphasis on self-esteem, his (Carl) Rogerian, therapeutic approach to people’s specialness and feelings, and sense that the way he suggests viewing yourself and others is just not realistic. Especially for a man of his age – a sentiment behind a lot of folks’ judgment that Mr. Rogers is just a little creepy. But I disagree.

What I’ve noticed about Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood is that it is filled with the most gifted people on the planet – Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Pearlman, Wynton Marsalis, to name a few – and shoe salesmen, and Special Olympians, and a full range of people, tasks, and social roles, each of which Mr. Rogers treats with complete attention, sincere admiration, great curiosity, and tremendous appreciation. (more…)


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My wife showed me a clip of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” she’d watched with the young’un about what people call their grandparents. First, he played a recording on a tape recorder (which is not magic, and Mister Rogers did not go into and talk out of, but somebody invented) of grandparents telling what their grandchildren call them. The tape played, “Our grandchildren call me Pap Pap, and their grandmother Grandma,” and Mister Rogers gently smiled at us and said, “Pap Pap and Grandma.” Then we heard, and he repeated, several others.

He continued, “Have you ever asked your friends what they call their grandparents? It’s fun to hear all the different names children have for grandparents. I called my dad’s mother and father Grandmother Rogers and Granddad Rogers.” Then, with his same sweet and steady sincerity, “And I called my mother’s mother and father Nana and Ding Dong.”

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