“Won’t you be my neighbor”

photo By Dr. François S. Clemmons [CC BY-SA 4.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

“Won’t you be my neighbor” Fred Roger’s story 

What a delight to watch this movie about Fred Rogers, with the themes of love, courage, and strength, front and center.  His concern and love for children directed the script, the songs, and the topics.  He wrote songs like “It’s you I like,” “What do you do with the mad I feel,” and “Won’t you be my neighbor”  and they all affirmed the intrinsic value of children (and adults)  I  loved learning about Fred Roger’s calling to use TV to address social injustice, to address and validate children’s feelings, and to help them remain calmer in times of stress. He included what was happening in the world, such as blacks being evicted from public pools, and demonstrated what loving your neighbor really meant.

Rogers presented social problems and offered comfort via a make-believe kingdom and puppets in order to demonstrate the way God loves us, how He views us, and how God can help us.  The music helped keep this in the audiences’ mind afterward.  This community impacted the workers on the set as well as the viewers around the world.

A sad part of the movie was the “Christian” reaction to Roger’s acceptance of a gay co-worker.  This helped sharpen my focus on loving people despite their harder-to-accept differences.  The main message for me was how a communicator, and follower of Jesus had such a powerful impact on us as a nation.  I’d like to see more of that happening again and have always wondered if there’s a way for me to participate in such a venture.

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