Thursday, January 23, 2014

Is It A Beautiful Day In Your Neighborhood?

There are many television programs that seem fascinating as a child but as we get older we either begin to realize how bad they are or we think about how much they have changed and the fact that Elmo must die. Even some of the good shows that we remember watching when we were younger seem to lose a little something when we either get the adult jokes (hello Fraggle Rock) or we watch them again and see how horrible the acting really is. However, there is the occasional program that, even years later, you look back and no matter how cheesy, simple, or dated they are, they still hold a special place in your memory.

There are also very few instances that I have experienced that makes you appreciate those programs even more and have a greater respect for the show. Unfortunately, this frequently happens when we watch a modern version, which is crap, and you realize how good the original was. Then there are instances, like the one I had this evening, when I watch a program that outlined the history of the program and the man behind this long standing television series.

If you watch Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood today you would think that it is all an act, that no one can be that friendly and sincere in their daily life. Watching "Mister Rogers & Me", you really come to realize that Fred Rogers was one of those few people who refused to see the faults in people and made a conscious decision to see the good in us all. He really believed that we are all special in many diverse ways (insert your own joke here).

While there is no replacing the positive influence that your parents and family have on who you are, especially in my case, you can’t help but think that shows like this had some impact on us. Don’t get me wrong, I can be as cynical and combative as the next person, but I also try to see the good in people. I enjoy talking and getting to know people not really caring about what they do for a living but who they really are. I guess that is why I can talk to just about anyone and for long stretches of time. I guess, to a certain extent, I treat everyone as a neighbor.

That is the true legacy of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. It isn’t in the ratings, awards, or longevity. It is in the small changes for the better that the show has made in many of us years after the last time we watched it. It is about how we see ourselves and how we treat one another. We may have different views, divergent opinions, and strong disagreements but that doesn’t comprise all that we are. That doesn’t mean we can respect each other and treat one another as neighbors.

Of course, if you don’t want to be my neighbor this picture is for you….

…and if you refuse to respect my opinions as I respect yours this picture is definitely for you…

In case you missed it, the word of the day is sarcasm. Learn it, embrace it, and let Trolley take you to the Neighborhood of Make Believe so we can all see sarcasm in action through the use of hand puppets. What can I say, I'm not Mister Rogers but it is still a beautiful day in the neighborhood, isn’t it?