Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Little Kindness

The line across the top of this poster is "A little kindness makes a world of difference."

Isn't that a wonderful motto for these days when kindness seems to be in short supply.

We went to see this movie yesterday and what a marvelous tribute it was to a special man.  There was a recent PBS special, but this is longer and much more complete.

It's impossible to believe that at his funeral he was picketed by the odious Fred Phelps clan.

(Ironically, I learned this morning that Fred Phelps died on Fred Rogers' birthday)  The sad thing about this photo is that it is children holding those signs.

Rogers message was a simple one...that children needed to be loved and feel safe and to know that they are special.
It’s you I like,
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair–
But it’s you I like
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you–
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys–
They’re just beside you.
But it’s you I like–
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
Even when you’re feeling blue
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself,
It’s you, it’s you I like.
In 1969, Mr. Rogers is credited with saving PBS, when the government decided to pull the plug on funding.

After a day and a half of impassioned speeches read to the Congressional committee by better known people, Mr. Rogers took the microphone and began to answer questions from Senator John Pastore. Rogers said rather than read a speech, which he had prepared and he hoped the Senator would read later.
In six minutes, he explained what his philosophy for his program was and in the end, the crusty Senator said it was the first time he had been moved since the hearings began and he would vote to continue the $20 million funding for PBS. 

The more I watched this movie, the more I realized how childhood has changed since the days of Mister Rogers and I wonder if in this era of super-heroes, and war games and CGI movies a simple message such as the one that Fred Rogers repeated every day would even be accepted.

Would children sit still and watch 30 minutes of a gentle man telling them how special they are, and explaining, difficult things like death, divorce and violence to them.

Does the message "when you are in trouble, look for the person in charge. They will always help you." still ring true in an era when a black child can be murdered in seconds for carrying a toy gun?
It saddens me to think these thoughts and saddens me even more to think that Mister Rogers probably would not find an audience these days.  I feel so happy that my kids knew Mister Rogers -- and probably happier that I, too, was a fan.

Go see this movie.  For 2 hours, forget that 7 children can be knifed at a 3 year old's birthday party, that 5 year old can be murdered in their school,  and that our government has ripped >2,000 children away from their parents.  Live for a moment when all children were special, loved, and protected and when the people in charge were there to help them.

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