“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” – Mr. Fred Rogers is the Best Kind of Neighbor

Won't You Be My Neighbor

If everyone followed Mr. Roger’s motto, “A little kindness makes a world of difference,” our world would be a very different place to live. Growing up in a wealthy family, Rogers spent a considerable amount of time sick in bed, so he used his imagination to entertain himself and that carried over into how he communicated to children. He was sensitive to kids’ needs due to his own bullying, and wanted to let them know that they were lovable, just the way they were. His son said that he never forgot what it was like to be a child, so he could relate to where they were coming from.

He was planning to be a Presbyterian minister, but was fascinated with the invention of television and saw it as a medium for delivering positive messages. He started with a local children’s program in Pittsburgh, before going back to become an ordained minister. He returned to television and created Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, a welcoming and safe place to learn. In the 1960s and 1970s, people didn’t always talk about their feelings. Rogers dealt with hard topics, even when it wasn’t the popular thing to do. Many of his enduring themes are still relevant today, like discrimination and dealing with tragedy.

After President Johnson put the funding in place for PBS, President Nixon wanted to reallocate it for war needs. After days of Senate hearings to decide the fate of public broadcasting, when it wasn’t looking good, it was Rogers’ turn to speak. My friend Carolyn was impressed when. “Rogers spoke from the heart about giving positive messages to children and how important it was to help them deal with their feelings, both good and bad.” He was the catalyst that instantly restored the funds for PBS.

Kids saw Rogers as their trusted friend who truly cared, listened and talked at their level.  His goal was to help children navigate the modulations of their life, some easier than other. The puppets he used were based on the people in his life. He started out as Daniel and you will have to watch the movie to see who he morphed into.

Being raised without television, I hadn’t watched many Mr. Rogers Neighborhood episodes growing up and neither had Carolyn, but we were both impressed with his remarkable brilliance as he was the composer, puppeteer, producer, writer and director of his show. We both thought it was interesting how effectively he used silence to get his message across at times. We guarantee you will be impressed with the creative genius and message of positivity of this truly gifted man.

Movie times: click here

Genre: Documentary

Director:  Morgan Neville  

Running Time: 94 minutes

Rating: PG-13


 

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