I spent the better part of my week reading about Mister Rogers.
Think about how for decades Fred Rogers exemplified some of the qualities we so desperately need now: neighborliness, a focus on our places, gentleness, conversation, deep listening, civility, creativity, emotional honesty, lack of pretense, and an unceasing focus on raising healthy and curious and confident children. I’m convinced that watching Mister Rogers “baptized my imagination” (to borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis) and planted early seeds of Slow Church.
I can also say that watching old video, reading his words, and reading the testimonies of people who knew Mister Rogers, is a healing balm during such an abrasive election season. Consider these quotes from Mister Rogers:
“A high school student wrote to ask, ‘What was the greatest event in American history?’ I can’t say. However, I suspect that like so many ‘great’ events, it was something very simple and very quiet with little or no fanfare (such as someone forgiving someone else for a deep hurt that eventually changed the course of history). The really important ‘great’ things are never center stage of life’s dramas; they’re always ‘in the wings.’ That’s why it’s so essential for us to be mindful of the humble and the deep rather than the flashy and the superficial.”
“When I was very young, most of my childhood heroes wore capes, flew through the air, or picked up buildings with one arm.… Read the rest