'Kindness and Wonder' -- Tell the truth, like Mister Rogers

'Kindness and Wonder' -- Tell the truth, like Mister Rogers
Photo by Margaret H. Laing

The fourth “Way to Live More Like Mister Rogers Right Now” in Gavin Edwards’ loveable, Sustaining book, “Kindness and Wonder,”  is to tell the truth.

“In the twenty-first century, trying to dispel misinformation and celebrity rumors feels a lot like trying to beat back the Atlantic Ocean with a butterfly net,” writes Edwards. But “respect for Mister Rogers — and the fundamental concepts of accuracy and reality” leads Edwards to argue well, in the logical sense, that stories ascribing terrible things to Fred Rogers are not true (italics by Edwards).

Edwards wrote, “But although Fred Rogers presented the best version of himself on camera, the public persona of Mister Rogers comported closely to his private self. His wife, Joanne, often said, ‘With Fred, what you see is what you get.’ ”

Edwards quotes Rogers on why his “Neighborhood” stayed on television so long: ” ‘People love honesty. … They like to be in touch with those who are honest and real. Don’t you like to be with real people?’ ”

In 1999, Rogers described “the greatest gift you can give anybody: the gift of your honest self.”

Do likewise, neighbors.


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  • Even if Fred had eternal life, he wouldn't be on TV now. The effect of current children's ADHD is shown, for instance, in Sesame Street. Jim Henson was quoted as saying that he was not interested in doing a kiddie show, but was brought on board because it was interesting enough to keep the parents engaged. Now, of course, it is 50 years later, and it was the grandparents who were raised on Sesame Street.The parents were raised on video games. Lord knows what the children are learning on their cell phone apps.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thanks, Jack. The book makes the point that the show is available on DVDs, so I assume eventually on other "TV-like" forms. Your point about "current children's ADHD" leaves me wondering whether things like "Sesame Street" and apps are the effect or the cause.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    More likely the apps are a cause, and what became of Sesame Street is the effect.
    There is a PBS Kids app, but it seems to be the same stuff as on Channel 11.4. One can do a search for "Mr.Rogers on the Internet", which turns up some hits, including mrrogers[dot] org. I doubt that many children or their parents are doing that.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thanks again, Jack. I hope that the book -- and these posts -- will draw some new attention to the old shows.

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