” It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…,” sang Fred Rogers as he entered his television home, then switched his suit jacket & shoes for a cardigan ( one of many knit by his mother) and sneakers. Thus began each weekly half-hour visit with everyone’s favorite neighbor.
As a child of the late ’60s and early ’70s, I enjoyed visiting with Mr. Rogers and his friends every week. Today, as an adult I went with my husband to see ” Won’t You Be My Neighbor, ” the wonderful documentary by Morgan Neville, on the life and legacy of Fred Rogers.
Mr. Roger’s legacy is one of love and acceptance. He taught us to not only love one another but to love ourselves as well. He taught us to accept each other for who we are. He taught us that it’s okay to feel angry or sad, and that it’s okay to be different. Child or adult, everyone mattered to Mr. Rogers, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Mr. Rogers loved us all and that was enough.
Mr. Rogers is no longer with us, but, if he was, I believe he would be deeply saddened by what is happening in our world today. There’s an expression that goes, ” lead by example,” and that’s just what Mr. Rogers did. He was kind,compassionate, loving and accepting. His is an example we should all follow. He is a treasure and his legacy an everlasting gift.
To paraphrase Fred Rogers:
” Won’t you please?,
Won’t you Please?
Please won’t you love your neighbor? “