Mister Roger's: Television's Gift

When I was a child, like most kids in America in the late seventies, I watched Mister Rogers' Neighborhood religiously.   Not only was he a calm and gentle presence, unapologetically tender and sentimental, calming and supportive; he also chose to focus on things and people that mattered.  He showed us how the things we used got made, taught us to pay attention to the world and the good people around us, and to appreciate the things about us that we might not always wrap our arms around.  He, alongside the muppets and my daily dosage of mid-century sitcoms, was a major television influences.  He helped shape how I came to see the world and gave me a foundation to cope when things turn to shit in this world.

It feels strange to put all of that on television's metaphorical shoulders, but it's true.  We were kids of the tv generation.  And it's not that I didn't go outside, or that I had absentee parent's.  But teacher's, family members, daycare teachers felt safe putting us in front of the television, often at our pleading.  And so, almost as much as the people around us, television makes us.

And so I'm grateful that Mister Rogers was such a big presence in my life as a young kid.  His message that differences are wonderful, and that everyone is worthy of love and is special still hold true.  Unfortunately, I don't think it's quite as popular a message as it used to be.  Luckily, these shows were here for us then, and Sesame Street is still around continuing that message of acceptance and self worth.

This clip below illustrates how important and influential Mister Rogers was and continues to be, as long as there are those around who take his words to heart.