Forty years ago today, a television program moved from local broadcast to national distribution. I first knew it as Mr O’Gregor’s until my parents had me read the title more closely. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, as I finally understood it, was my neighborhood and then the neighborhood of our children. In honor of that program, and that ethos, here’s the latest 8 ways list.
- As you walk into some familiar place today (work, grocery, home), start humming, “It’s a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine, could you be mine.” Not loud enough for anyone else to hear, but loud enough so that you remember to look for neighbors.
- When you get home, change into a comfortable sweater as a way of realizing that you are in a different place, that you don’t have to use the competitive values of “out there.” Change your shoes, too.
- Listen to Yo Yo Ma play anything. The rich melancholy of the cello, which many kids heard for the first time on Mr Rogers, is a perfect soundtrack to the mixture of hope and despair that many of us feel.
- In the middle of trying to explain something, consider that Fred Rogers knew that we can emotionally understand emotional issues best in story. The much maligned land of make-believe helped a lot of people understand sadness and love.
- Realize that the grocer or the delivery person or the music teacher or the shopowner may actually be working for the king.
- Listen for sounds, of trolleys, of fish tanks, of quiet piano jazz, of silence. It’s more rare in our lives now than for Fred, and even he had to resist the temptation to fill time with noise.
- Consider the possibility that it really is “a good feeling to know you’re alive.”
- Smile. Unconditionally smile. Once. For Fred.
Please won’t you be my neighbor?
For more 8 ways…
To recycle a month
To cross-pollinate your world
To fall off a horse
To audit my (spiritual) time
To waste the month
To waste your blogging time
To ruin your day
To be thanked
To increase your stress
To explain 2.0 friends to 0.0 parents
To lose your faith
To make yourself angry
To make yourself jealous
To make yourself depressed
To ruin your marriage
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