Fred Rogers might have retired from television in 2001 and died at 74 of stomach cancer in 2003 but he died with a net worth of $3 million dollars. After seeing the documentary Won’t you be my neighbor, I decided to do something to help us be better people. Here are 6 things that Mr. Rogers taught us as kids that we tend to forget as we grow older. This list is in no particular order but keep your opinions respectful and don’t be a fail troll.
- Being Nice to others – Mr. Rogers might have been cheesy with his songs, low budget sets and puppets but he proved that you didn’t need to have money to have a heart. All you needed was your imagination, intellect and your heart. It’s amazing how many people you meet in this world who don’t know what it’s like to shake someone’s hand or give someone a hug.
- Getting through a divorce – Divorce is something children end up being the victims of and it scars them. Mr. Rogers might have gotten his start in 1968 but he knew he needed to change but children will always need a mentor. I don’t have the proper words to finish my thought but here’s a clip from the end scene of Mrs. Doubtfire to finish what I started: Divorce
- Death is a natural part of life – This one is a heavy hitter for me as I will be talking about both assassination and suicide. 3a) Assassination – In May 2018 in Phoenix Arizona, Jason David Frank known to my generation as Tommy the Green Power Ranger while I don’t think that JDF shouldn’t have been assassinated, I could go on a tangent about the assassination but I will get around to talking about it. All I’m going to say now it was probably one of 3 people 1) Someone with a mental illness looking for attention 2) A sentai purist who was angry at the world or 3) Someone who was trying to prove the baby boomers right about Power Rangers to begin with. 3b) Suicide – 2016 was an awful year most people would rather forget about but if you’ve come this far in the article give yourself a pat on the back. Two years ago, I lost a friend to suicide. What I didn’t mentioned before is I was shamed by a friend or someone I thought was a friend. We shouldn’t shame those who lose a loved one to suicide. We need to walk a mile in their shoes.
- A sense of humor is very important – If you haven’t seen the documentary this is kind of a spoiler but how do you spoil a documentary? Anyway one of the cameramen told a story how they had wrapped up filming and he was fooling around with the camera and put his butt in the camera. In true Mr. Rogers fashion, he didn’t say anything. Not a peep. When Christmastime came around, he edited King Friday’s head with the butt too and gave it to the cameraman. You might say Freddy was feeling a little bit… cheeky!
- Creativity is a wonderful thing – Although I’ve long left the neighborhood, I believe that the messages he would leave with kids adults forgot about. The baby boomer generation was the first generation to have television. In the 1960’s Fred Rogers had to compete with the Adam West Batman. In the 1990s, my generation, he had to compete with a whole new generation. He had to compete with popular titles like, Pokémon, Batman: The Animated Series and of course Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The last of the 3 Rogers would absolutely abhore. He’d probably believe the same thing about The Simpsons. It teaches kids to be rude to their parents. Out of all the shows I mentioned, I think the only one he’d be fine with is Pokémon is because it teaches kids responsibility
- There’s no shame in being smart – Beneath all the cardigan, folksy Pennsylvanian twang, was someone who just wanted to make the world brighter, happier and more cheerful. His songs might be cheesy, the show long gone but in its place is Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood. A fully CGI world in the same continuity for a new generation.
If you finished the article, pat yourself on the back. Will there be another Fred Rogers? Of course not. His legacy as a children’s entertainer might carry on through Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood but he is remembered by everyone who watched him, myself included. He was what the viewer wanted him to be; a mentor, a dad, a grandpa, someone who the kids could count on.
“I do believe in love; it’s wonderful – especially love third time around, it’s even more precious; it’s kind of amazing.” Robin Williams 1951-2014
To wrap up, a clip from Mr. Rogers on David Letterman February 1982
Well that about wraps up this blog, now I have some standup comedy to write.