Posts Tagged ‘Television’

In reading about some deeply saddening events happening in the world, I began researching some quotes for the word `hope’. I came upon two brilliant ones by Fred Rogers, known to most as Mister Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. I was a bit older when this TV show first appeared, but had opportunities to check in from time to time with this kind man who loved, understood, and deeply respected children.

There is a great deal of information available on Fred Rogers, but I wonder if viewers knew how brilliant and insightful a man he truly was. The first quote is related to his oft-repeated sentence to the kids, “It’s you I like.”

“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.” 

Pictured above is Mister Rogers having a foot bath with Francois Clemmons, the friendly neighborhood police officer, Officer Clemmons, on the show for 25 years. It was taken at a time when racial integration was barely beginning, but when the idea of a white man and a black man sharing a kiddie pool foot bath, and the same towel to dry off, was extremely radical. But Fred Rogers was very much into breaking barriers. This was taken in 1969.

The second quote by Fred Rogers was about disabilities, and his vastly different view of what that meant as compared to what is commonly believed.

“Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.” 

President George W. Bush presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award to Fred Rogers July 9, 2002, during ceremonies in the East Room. Photo by Paul Morse, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

In 2002, Fred Rogers was presented with the highest civilian award given in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award. It is the highest, but by far, not the only one, he received. For more information about Fred Rogers and his many accomplishments, check out his biography on Wikipedia.

For a little extra treat, watch Fred Rogers testify in front of a U.S. Senate subcommittee, asking that his funding for pubic television and his show be renewed. His speech is so persuasive that he melts the heart of the subcommittee head who didn’t initially want to hear him.

I started out looking for a quote or two on `hope’, and came to learn quite a bit about one man who offered hope and so much more to so many children through Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I believe his legacy is far greater than any of us could imagine.

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