Do any of you remember Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood? The series officially ended in 2001, but the reruns continued for a time. Fred Rogers starred as Mr. Rogers, a friendly persona that taught educational and moral lessons to young children. In June this year, there was a hit documentary released about the life of the television pioneer entitled Won’t You Be My Neighbor? This film focused on the life and legacy of Fred Rogers and was apparently well-received as it achieved a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and is “certified fresh.” Morgan Neville did an amazing job making the life of a great man so entertaining and nostalgic. So now, there are big boots to fill for the next film featuring Fred Rogers.
In October 2019, there is set to be the release of a biopic titled (for now) You Are My Friend directed by Marielle Heller. Tom Hanks will star as Mr. Rogers and impart upon all who watch a moral compass that may have degraded over the years since we have come to adulthood and beyond. This seems like a good casting choice since Tom Hanks has a strange likeness to Fred Rogers. Something friendly and unassuming radiates from these two.
The story follows an encounter between Fred Rogers and a cynical reporter- Tom Junod, who believes Mr. Rogers’ disposition is a scam. (Be honest, some of us have doubted Mr. Rogers’ persona and thought it strange for someone to be so kind.) However, with the powers only a friendly neighbor like Rogers could have, Junod’s stance on Rogers’ personality and mission change.
As the release for the biopic is still a year away, it seems right that some wisdom of Mr. Rogers be imparted for rumination until then. Here are three pieces of advice from the best neighbor in town.
“There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”
Simple and sweet. Idealistic, but what is life without some semblance of idealism to strive for? Is that not a life devoid of meaning? Being kind doesn’t always mean they’ll be kind back, but it does mean you have prescribed worth to yourself.
“I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.”
It’s true that one can express deep thoughts without being unnaturally and superfluously complex. Some things that seem simple are more meaningful than things that require a lot of thought and decoding. Try thinking about relationships in your life. Which side of the spectrum are they on?
“I believe that appreciation is a holy thing, that when we look for what’s best in the person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does. So, in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something truly sacred.”
This is for all of humanity to recognize. Appreciate the people around you, whether they be friends, family, or enemies, all of them are in the image of God and should be loved as such. Don’t keep looking for love when you can be love.