My Regret about Mister Rogers
I recently saw the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. It wasn’t a movie I’d typically see. If a flick doesn’t have a ghost or something, otherwise, creepy going on, I’m not always game. But it was the one movie my friends and I all agreed on. Plus, as a child of the 1970’s I was well-acquainted with Mister Rogers. He typically aired somewhere in the midst of Sesamee Street, Zoom, and The Electric Company in the PBS lineup.
While I loved the trolley, the puppets, and all things to do with the Land of Make-Believe, I simply did not get Mister Rogers. Even as a little kid, I thought, What’s with this dude? He said, and often sang, things like You are special just the way you are, It’s You I like, and the ever-famous Won’t you be my neighbor. He looked right into the camera and spoke to me as if I was the only person in the world, but I didn’t have time for this goody-two-shoes with his nerdy soft-soles and cardigan sweaters.
I was not a happy child. I was sad, angry, and felt very misunderstood. I found solace in my cocker spaniel/terrier mix, the swing in my grandma’s backyard, my ever-present daydreams, and little else. The world was lonely and scary and I thought people didn’t want me around much.
I thought kindness was scarce and adults just didn’t seem to act with the attentiveness and gentleness of Mister Rogers. I simply didn’t understand his ways, seeing him as alien as that little green martian, Gazoo, from the Flintstones.
The truth is when Mister Rogers said all those kind words, I never thought he was really speaking to me. I figured he must be talking to some other kid – some boy or girl my age who really was special, someone else who really did make the day beautiful.
But all these years later, as Mister Rogers reemerges as a positive force, I could see I may have been exactly the kind of kid he was speaking to. The kind of kid he’d dedicated his career to trying to reach. I regret I wouldn’t—couldn’t soak up those kindhearted tidbits he’d shared during my single-digit years. I wish I could’ve believed I was special and worthy of being liked and all those other things he’d told me from the screen of my parents snowy Zenith. Perhaps childhood would’ve been just a little bit brighter.
Then again, in my fifty years, I’ve learned it’s never too late to let the goodness of humanity sink in. I now see kindness is not in short supply and the world can be a pleasant place to be. As the spirit of Mister of Rogers makes a comeback I can now see it truly is a beautiful day!
Posted in: Essays
I loved the heart warming, honest, thoughts of a young girl and how looking back over 50 years, Mr. Roger’s caring thoughts and ways have made an impact on her life. Maybe later but his message has been received.
Praying that in our future, extending caring ways and positive thoughts will make an
impact on our world. It maybe only someone holding a door, a smile or just a Good Morning that could make someone a positive and special day for any age.
Thank you for writing and bringing these thoughts to life.