making egg salad sandwiches
Photo by Bill Rogers / Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0

A few weeks ago, Mr. Rogers came up at one of our production meetings, and Krista mentioned that she would have loved to interview him if he were still alive. I remember reading somewhere that Fred Rogers’s original intention in creating a television show was to try to find a space in TV broadcasting for grace.

Not a few days had passed when an episode of Mr. Rogers appeared on my family’s Tivo as a suggestion. I don’t know if PBS has just recently begun rebroadcasting the show, but I decided to see if my kids could connect with him, considering that they watch almost nothing but cartoons.

Having not watched the show myself in almost 30 years, I was surprised to realize how much I actually enjoyed it, especially the mini-documentaries about various factories (in this case, a sleeping bag factory). There’s something extraordinarily reassuring about watching one of the ordinary objects of our lives being constructed piece by piece.

My children were equally captivated, and within minutes my 3 year old was talking back to the screen when Mr. Rogers asked her a question. Somehow, through the medium of television, he was able to make a genuine emotional connection to a girl that had been born a year after his death. In a CNN profile, Rogers said, “The whole idea is to look into the television camera and present as much love as you possibly could to a person who might feel that he or she needs it.”

Fred Rogers would have been 80 next month.

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Fred Rogers was a deeply spiritual man and he had such compassion for people. I do wish that Krista would have been able to interview him. That would have been wonderful to listen to.

That picture of the little boy with Mr. Rogers is absolutely breathtaking...I love it. My 2nd favorite show growing up - in Canada, we had a similar counterpart named Fred Penner, who crawled through a log to a clearing in the forest where he played the guitar and conversed with puppet animals!

For a long time I have thought that if everybody watched a 1/2 hour of a Mr. Rogers show each day, the world would be a far better place. Your story is one great example of what his goal was and what he did achieve.