Tonight I watched “Won’t you be my neighbor,” the documentary about Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood, and it had a pretty profound impact on me even though I don’t recall watching it regularly as a kid.
The film both inspired and saddened me because while it spotlights the humanity of one of the most genuine, kindspirited public figures of the last century, reminding viewers of what we could be; it’s also a reminder that it’s NOT and that most people on TV these days just aren’t like this man.
A colleague of Mr. Rogers says it well: “years ago it wasn’t so weird that someone as nice as Fred was around. Now, there’s no room for someone as nice as Fred on TV”
He’s right. Role models nowadays aren’t like this man. And as a result, the majority of Americans nowadays are not like this man.
When’s the last time you saw something on TV as remotely positive as the MR. Rogers’ peppy “It’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive”? Or a YouTube star spread the message “you’re special” to their millions of subscribers?
Instead, everywhere we look there’s trashy reality TV, news organizations spewing vitriol & sensationalism at full blast (from both sides!), sex, drugs, violence, racism, narcissism, sexism, greed and negativity.
Hell, from the looks of things on TV these days, humans are meant to fight with & hurt each other, rather than love and appreciate one another.
That’s a problem!
I don’t know if this film impacted me more than I thought because I’m married & now a dad, so I’ve felt a level of love like never before, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that it is the kind of message we could use more of on all the screens we look at for 12 hours a day to counterbalance the negative and depressing stuff.
Things are crazy these days, but movies like this one reminded me that we are all capable of more, and if we just try to show love a little more every time we interact with someone, maybe we can reverse the trend and get back to being the kind-natured humans we were born to be.
To that end, here’s Another quote from Mr. Rogers:
“What changes the world, the ONLY thing, is when somebody gets the idea that love can abound, and be shared”
Let’s get cracking on changing the world, eh?