Satisfying Retirement In A Changing World: Mr. Rogers Is Helping Me

by
courtesy NPR.org


A much shorter post than normal for me, but the message is quite straightforward. 

Recently I have been kind of immersed in the life and impact of Mr. Rogers. I guess that’s a little odd for someone my age, but there is something so hopeful and encouraging about how he went about teaching and influencing children with a sincere approach.

He honestly cared about people “just the way they are,” and he truly listened to what children (and adults) were saying when they expressed worries or concerns. Then, he responded in a way that reflected those worries while offering an explanation designed to comfort and calm the person he communicated with. He didn’t sugarcoat bad things but helped a young mind process them.

I thought about the way he dealt with the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, or toward the end of his life, how he addressed children and their parents right after 9/11. He had a way of speaking slowly, choosing his words and inflection with great care, all while acknowledging the uneasiness others felt at that moment.

Like you, I have been worrying a lot about the fate of our country. Under assault by a deadly virus, racial unrest, an illogical refusal by many regarding masks or simple safety precautions, and the effect of an election that, at times, seemed destined to veer completely off the rails. I have had some trouble sleeping and turning off the chatter.

But, in listening to a tremendous podcast about Fred Rogers (Finding Fred on all major podcast sites) and reading a few books about his approach to worry and uncertainty, his total love for others, and his unfailing optimism for the human race, I feel better than I have in a while.

Maybe just pulling away from my own filters and trying to see things through someone else’s’ eyes, like Mr. Rogers, is exactly what I needed at this point.

Mr. Rogers was a unique TV personality and human being, one we can look to for comfort and encouragement. Thank for the virtual warm hugs, Fred.