Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Mr. Rogers' Day

I originally published this way back in 2008, but I think it's worth reconsidering today. Why today? Well, today is the Spring Equinox, a time of possibility and hope. It's also Fred Roger's birthday.

Mr. Roger's was a staple of my childhood and, in all likelihood, yours. He was that constant force that told me, no matter how weird I was, someone out there liked me. I believed him. Kids have unerring bullshit detectors and Mr. Rogers knew that, so he was this sincere and had this much respect for everyone.

What's more, he answered every letter he got from a kid, was kind to just about everyone and with dignity and respect more than once told congress a thing or two about living and governing humanely. Mr. Rogers is my hero.

What follows is a lightly edited piece I wrote some time ago about Why Mr. Rogers is worth remembering, celebrating and emulating. For today, at least, let's all try to be a bit more like him. Have a great day, neighbor. I like you just the way you are.

*     *     *

This morning on NPR I heard a brief piece about Mr. Rogers. You know, Fred Rogers from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. I listened to it and got teary, remembering just how much I loved him, how good I felt while spending time with him, how I knew he was talking just to me, not any other kid. They played this clip, recorded shortly after the 9/11 attacks and near the end of his life, directed at all of us who are now grown-ups but still need someone to like us, just the way we are.

Watch A Message of Hope on PBS. See more from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

I don’t think we should have to win an Academy Award to realize that “You like me! You really, really like me!” It stinks, really, that we need that level of affirmation and, let’s face, it, we all have days where we could use an Oscar to feel better about ourselves. Our culture isn’t set up to help us believe the best about ourselves. We’re too tallshortfatthinoldyoungblackwhiteasianlatinoetc
smartdumbrichpooroutgoingshymalefemalestraightgayidon'tknowetcetcetc too human to be good enough to stand up to the ideals and false standards we’re presented with and hold ourselves too.

Inside none of us measure up.

So let’s hear it for someone who told us, over and over again, that he likes us, just the way we are. I’ll ignore my inner critic who is suggesting that this post is just a bit too maudlin. You can ignore something else. Go ahead, like yourself.

Happy Fred Roger’s Day.

(c) 2008 and 2013 Laura S Packer
Creative Commons License

1 comment:

  1. I heard that this morning, too.

    I felt much the same way.


True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
Related Posts with Thumbnails