A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
I’m a big fan of Mr. Rogers. When the kids were little, our daily routine was lunch at noon, Mr. Rogers at 12:30, then down for a nap. I remember for a while, after our youngest was in all day kindergarten and I was home alone at lunchtime, I still tuned in at 12:30 with a sandwich and a smile. There was something so calming and reassuring about the words of his opening song, the sound of the trolley, and the sight of those six cardigan sweaters in his closet, not 75 golf shirts! (See my blog from 2/1/18)
I wanted to live in Mr. Rogers’s neighborhood. Things were simple and honest. He was always positive and encouraging. He made you feel good about yourself. He gave you the feeling that each day was special because you were part of it. Not to mention the trips to the crayon and the saxophone factories! And when he did address some more difficult topics, he always left you with a sense of hope regardless of the challenge. I think hope was one of the greatest gifts he gave his viewers, young and old.
We have the capacity to bring hope to the lives of everyone we meet. We heard this sentiment echoed by both presenters at our first men’s event at Firstfruits last week. Dan Burnett and Tim Christian both spoke on the powerful positive effect we can have in the lives of everyone we meet. Dan outlines in his book, I Am CXO, Now What?, the six behaviors or attitudes we need to make our encounters with others positive and life giving—hope giving. He lists them as: Approachability, Positivity, Authenticity, Vulnerability, Humility, and Generosity. Sounds a lot like Jesus. Sounds a lot like Mr. Rogers.
There is a quote from Mr. Rogers with a similar focus. He says in his book, The World According to Mr. Rogers, “ If you could only see how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of you that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
The world needs hope. The exhausted new mom, the grieving widow, the unhappily married, the recently unemployed, and the newly diagnosed all need a neighbor. You or I might just be that source of hope for someone that God puts in our “neighborhood.” What is that “something of you” you want to leave with each person you meet this week?
I was so excited to hear that there is a renewed interest in Mr. Rogers these days. There is a movie coming out about his life starring Tom Hanks. I can’t wait to see it. Maybe I’ll pack sandwiches and take my grandchildren. Then they can put me down for a nap!