Since we live in such a polarized political environment, I wanted to take a moment to highlight the positive impact some TV personalities have had in our world. Specifically, I am thinking of Mr. Rogers. The movie, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” is now in the theaters and serves as a visual reminder of his impact not only on children but on all of us.
Baylor professor Brooke Blevins has put together six lessons we can learn from Mr. Rogers about being a good neighbor. First, each person is worthy to be loved and heard. While we may disagree with each other about various issues, Christians should always remember that other person we want to debate is created in God’s image.
Second, Mr. Rogers teaches us to use our platform for good. He didn’t take his role on TV lightly. He saw it as an opportunity to help young people make sense of their world around them. He even said that he felt the space between the TV and the viewers was holy ground.
Third, his lessons weren’t just for children. They were also for adults. Parents were also watching his programs. He was helping to create civil discourse and reasoned judgment. He wanted us to develop empathy and understanding for others.
Fourth, he told us to “slow down.” His slow pace was intentional and used to develop a relationship with his viewers. Fifth, he was willing to discuss tough issues, even with children. As an ordained minister and gifted musician, he utilized his gifts to create a space where difficult social issues could be discussed.
Finally, he taught all of us how to be a good neighbor. That meant showing love and caring about the people around you. It is amazing to me how influential this soft-spoken, slow-moving TV personality became. I think we all could learn some lessons from Mr. Rogers and the people in his neighborhood.