Summary: Death of Mr. Rogers reminds us that service with a Christ-like humble attitude always wins in a world of putdowns!
A Life of service
One night a teenage girl brought her new boyfriend home to meet her parents. They were just appalled at his appearance- leather jacket, motorcycle boots, tattoos, pierced nose and ears. Later, the parents pulled their daughter aside and confessed their concern. “Dear” said the mother diplomatically, “he doesn’t seem very nice.”
“Mom” replied the daughter, “if he wasn‘t very nice, why would he be doing 5,000 hours of community service”.
This morning I am speaking about service, and I don’t mean the “community service” that is forced on you by a judge. Challenge: to think of serving others! Having the attitude of Christ!
For three decades on public TV, one man has made his mark on children all over our world. He has a gentle, kindly, quiet manner. He sings silly little songs and manipulates puppets that would make the Muppets blush. He was there before the special effects of Stars Wars, and the eye-boggling stunts of Jackie Chan and yet his presence can hold the attention of even the most attention deficient child.
As Wendy Murray Zoba writes in CT Today: “Many grownups scratch their heads at the power this man has over their children. What is the attraction, they think, of a silly man who, every day, walks through the same door of a studio home, all smiles, singing It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood? Every day the man pulls off his sport jacket and dons a cardigan sweater and sits on a bench to remove his shoes, replacing them with canvas tennis shoes, still singing—It’s a neighborly day in this beauty wood, a neighborly day for a beauty—would you be mine? Could you be mine?” Who is this man?
· Show slide of Mr. Rogers
This past week on Feb 27 it was announced to the world Mr. Rogers passed away. The impact he made is very real! On PBS.org
To Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood:
It’s early in the morning on February 27th, 2003. It is one of the saddest mornings of my young life. I’m 22, and Mister Rogers helped me be who I am today. Who am I? I am special.
Sometimes I’ve heard the phrase "angels walk amongst us," and if anyone ever needed proof of that, it was Fred Rogers. He will be missed.
Fred Rogers was a gentle, caring, knowledgeable voice, to and for children, in a world of turmoil and confusion. He gave the gift of his heart, unabashedly and unashamedly to kids and we responded. He was the positive, sensitive male role model so many of us lacked. He will be missed. I watched him, my children watched him and we watched together. My appreciation for him grew as I watched my kids enjoying his sweet and careful but always truthful way he spoke to the young. Everyone needs a Mr. Rogers in their life. He will be missed. God bless you, Mr. Rogers in you new world of Make-Believe!
Kristina, Justin & Forrest - Tulsa, OK
This show has touched my life like no other, and Fred Rogers, I think, was a role model to everybody in this world. I don’t think there is one person who hasn’t ever seen this man and respected him. He’s the most gentle man ever, and his death was a very tragic loss for us all, but I think that God had a mission for him; to touch the lives of many, and his mission was accomplished. He has touched everybody’s heart at least once.
Mel, 13 - Pittsburgh, PA
Thank you for making my childhood more beautiful. Each time I see Mister Rogers on TV, I am instantly transported back in time to a safe, loving place. I spent many happy hours in my Grandma’s living room, planted on her burnt orange carpet, squarely in front of the tv, basking in the love and acceptance that he so humbly administered to my heart. Any time I felt stepped on or broken hearted, after just a few minutes with him, everything was ok again, and it was once again ok to be me, just as I was. Thank you Mister Rogers, "You Are Special."
Kathleen - Morgantown, wv
On Toronto Star’s website:
Whenever I watched Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood, I felt a lot better afterwards. It didn’t matter if no one played dolls with me that day, Mr. Rogers was my constant friend.
-Carly Watt, Toronto, Feb. 28
I think all of us who watched him feel like a bit of our childhood just died.
-Anna Wilson, Halifax, Feb. 28
What all these tributes seem to say is they felt the power of his words, they felt loved, they felt special, they felt OK. Isn’t this what the world needs? As we hear more and more daily the push for war, the push by government to tax us to death, the push and shove of the world, the putdowns that so easily spew from our mouths as demonstrated by Liberal MP from Mississauga Centre, Carolyn Parrish, who did us Canadians a disservice by mouthing off anti- American sentiments. Who would rather hear from… a voice that’s says “you are special” or voices that call you names. By the tributes we hear of Mr. Rogers we know adults and children lap it up and drink it in those simple words of love and acceptane. They drink it by the buckets.