Last weekend Elaine and I watched, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood“. A story about Mr. Rogers. After watching the movie, I found myself thinking of him with a very different perspective. He is a deep and thoughtful man, gentle and empathetic. The movie covered forgiveness, kindness, love, making an impact on the world, and even death. 

In the movie, Mister Rogers, played by Tom Hanks, asks his lunch companion to join him in a minute of silence to think about the people “who have loved us into being.” The conversation in the whole Chinese restaurant dies down, silverware ceases to clink, people stop and focus. And, I believe take their own minute of silence.

From Mr. Rogers’ 2002 Commencement Address at Dartmouth College.

I’d like to give you all an invisible gift. A gift of a silent minute to think about those who have helped you become who you are today. Some of them may be here right now. Some may be far away. Some, like my astronomy professor, may even be in heaven. But wherever they are, if they’ve loved you, and encouraged you, and wanted what was best in life for you, they’re right inside your self. And I feel that you deserve quiet time, on this special occasion, to devote some thought to them. So, let’s just take a minute, in honor of those that have cared about us all along the way. One silent minute…

Whomever you’ve been thinking about, imagine how grateful they must be, that during your silent times, you remember how important they are to you. It’s not the honors and the prizes, and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls. It’s the knowing that we can be trusted. That we never have to fear the truth. That the bedrock of our lives, from which we make our choices, is very good stuff.

Here are some great quotes from the movie:

  • “Do you know what forgiveness means? It’s a decision we make to release a person from the feelings of anger we have against them.”
  • “It’s funny. Sometimes it’s hardest to forgive the ones we love.”
  • “Sometimes we get to change a broken world with our words.”
  • “Just take a minute and think about all the people who loved us into being.”
  • “There’s always something you can do with the mad you feel.”
  • “Children need to know that even when adults make plans, sometimes they don’t turn out as they hoped.”
  • [When talking about his show] “We are trying to give children positive ways to deal with their feelings.”
  • [About death] “To die is to be human and anything human is mentionable. Anything mentionable is manageable.”
  • “Sometimes we have to ask for help, and that’s okay.”
  • “I like you just the way you are.”

Rogers was a Presbyterian minister whose ministry knew no bounds. He lived out his beliefs in front of the world and worked very hard to be the man he was that we saw on TV. 

We can all try to be a little bit more like Fred Rogers!

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