Adults who grew up in the decades from the 1960s through the 1990s are likely to remember the opening to the iconic television show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. The rest of you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. With the 50th anniversary of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood in 2018 and the premiere of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood with Tom Hanks, Mr. Rogers-centered dialogue has remained more relevant than ever while other popular children’s show hosts have come and gone.
Fifty years after his show began and almost twenty years after it ended, why are Mr. Rogers and his neighborhood still important?
Mr. Rogers’ television persona was authentic. According to the people who knew him, he was really like that. When he got on the screen and sang simple songs about how he loved children; how he thought each was special just as they were, he meant it. He let his show model values that he found important — quiet, kindness, a deliberate pace, the use of imagination, and getting to know and value many different kinds of people.He remains important because children (and the rest of us) still need what he offered. His message, and his authenticity still have much to offer.
In this course, contemplative spirituality director and author Westina Matthews discusses Mr. Rogers’ lasting impact on the world. In the first lesson, she offers details about Fred Rogers’ life and personality. In the second lesson, she discusses Rogers’ work in the context of Christ’s teachings. In the third lesson, she examines Mr. Rogers’ show in the context of contemplative spirituality — slowing down, examining and appreciating the world as it is. In the last lesson, she talks about Mr. Rogers’ authenticity, and his value for people’s being sincere — and being accepted for their authentic selves.
This class is ideal for anyone interested in Mr. Rogers, contemplative spirituality, reaching out to children, or everyday spiritual practices. If you’d like to view a preview, please click here.