Today would have been Fred Rogers 83rd birthday. When he was awarded an Emmy in 1997 Mr. Rogers said the following: "All of us have special ones who have loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are."
Until I was reminded that it was Mr. Rogers' birthday today I hadn't realized (a) how much I missed the Neighborhood of Make Believe and (b) what an impact Mr. Rogers' had on me. I used to watch him every day when I got home from school (or maybe it was before I left for school) for years. It's likely part of of the well of optimism that I draw from. Why, there have been a few who have, at times, accused me of living in the Neighborhood of Make Believe.
Just a few days before his birthday the U.S. congress voted to end all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Here he was in 1969 defending the importance of Public Broadcasting. During his testimony he said: "This is what I give, I give an expression of care every day to each child. To help him realize that he is unique." It's a shame he wasn't around last week to deliver the same message.
Happy Birthday Mr. Rogers. Thanks for teaching us all that "there is only one person in the whole world like you and people can like you exactly as you are." A great place to reacquaint yourself with the neighborhood, or explore it for the first time, is here.