2 March 2003
I value kindness and helping others above most other things in life, but never really considered Fred Rogers to be much of an influence on me, until recently. I was 12 when he started his 30-year run on PBS and remember watching it with four younger siblings, wondering what else we could watch instead.It wasn't so bad when Lady Aberlin was featured, or when Mister Rogers would tell how something is made and how it works. Dad also helped me appreciate the wonderful piano accompaniment to the show. Overall, watching the show as a 12-year-old was a peaceful experience, even with the annoying meow meow cat.
As I learn more about Mister Rogers's life, I become more and more impressed with him and sad that he's gone. He wrote back to each person who wrote letters to him. It is said he even used an envelope to return a pen that someone left in his house. His show helped adults as well as children feel better about themselves. He went swimming every day and weighed himself after each swim. He told an interviewer that he weighed 143 pounds every day of his life since 1956. Obviously, a certain discipline accompanied his gentleness. Fred Rogers never said anything bad about anyone and reacted with kindness to people who criticized or made fun of him. He saw the good in everyone. It's nice to know that he will continue to reach children well into the 21st Century.