I don’t why I would be surprised the day my five-year-old daughter Emma began sharing Mr. Rogers with me. Having long ago discovered the PBS Kids website, she called me over the other day to show me the archive of clips from the show.
It needs to be said.
I love Mr. Rogers.
My adoration began early as I would sit, mesmerized by his endearing stories, his songs, his shoes that he would toss with such dexterity as he looked at me (yes, me!) and told me how special I am…how there was nobody like me.
And of course, there were the sweaters and the puppets.
The bottom line is that Mr. Rogers was about validation.
I am ok, just the way I am.
You’re ok, just the way you are.
That was pretty much it.
Is it any wonder that my five-year-old, growing up in a world of Hannah Montana and The Wiggles would prefer this simple, sincere message?
No, he wasn’t a sniper, but I am pretty sure there were tattoos he hid behind those sweater sleeves. So what. Mr. Rogers had tattoos. He also had a heart that called him to speak with gentility and kindness to children all over the world in a way that met them exactly where they were.
Here’s to you, goofy, lovable Mr. Rogers.
You were ok, too.
I am also grateful for the sign-off he gave to all those adults that grew up watching him. A parting message for those of us, now parents, to continue with the grace and acceptance in our own lives, with our own children.