My youngest son graciously agreed to go to a movie last night with his mother. We saw “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”* about the relationship which develops between a journalist and children’s television icon Fred Rogers.
In some ways I’m surprised this film made it to the screen. There’s no action, fast dialogue, sex, or even politics. As one who grew up watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS, I sat fascinated at the lessons shared.
- Everybody’s broken.
- Everybody’s valuable.
- Look people in the eye when they’re talking to you.
- Be present.
- Talk less.
- Talk slower.
- Ask questions.
- Ask why.
- Acknowledge your feelings, good and bad.
- Find ways to let out your feelings, good and bad, without hurting others.
- Acknowledge that hurt can make us a better person.
- Care for others.
- Pray for every person who comes into your life.
- Be God’s voice and touch.
Having read several years ago, The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers*, I knew something of the person now being portrayed by Tom Hanks on the big screen. I knew that he saw television as his mission field, and he never missed an opportunity to be used by God to show others that they had intrinsic value because they were fearfully and wonderfully made.
Yet, how easily I’d forgotten the lessons learned in that book. The film reminded me.
We need more Mister Rogers in this world.
We need more people who are willing to look a hurting person in the eyes and say, “God loves you. It’s okay to get angry, but don’t let it define you. You’re made for a unique purpose for a specific time. Don’t miss out on the powerful impact you can make in your world.”
Are you listening to others?
Do you see them?
Do you care?
Grace and Peace
*A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Dir. Marielle Heller. Tri Star Pictures, Tencent Pictures, Big Beach. 2019.
Hollingsworth, Amy. The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers. Thomas Nelson, 2001.