I watched the most inspirational and delightful movie the other night with my husband. Both of us tearing up, singing along, and enjoying every second. We didn’t know what to expect when we rented A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood but we knew it was about Mr. Rogers.
It was amazing how quickly I regressed forty years. I instantly remembered the puppets, I knew every word to the songs, my heart quickened upon seeing the sets. I used to think that Mr. Rogers could see me through the screen so I always quickly straightened the living room before he came through the front door. My granddaughter, at the same age, watches him still. Such a legacy.
I enjoyed the myth busting (not a sniper), and Tom Hank’s always stellar performance. What struck me was Fred Rogers’ ability to every day choose to make a difference and be present with people, to spread love and encouragement- not just on the set, but in every moment of the day. Even as he quietly prayed for each person that crossed his path by name.
I have written before that I’m not a huge fan of mass prayers for people in churches and social media posts, as if God only helps the most popular. But I do think there is great power in individually praying the name of a person. Garnering energy for them, sending them love, and helping to make their hopes a reality. In the book, Eat, Pray, Love, Liz prays for a loved one with all of her heart, on another continent, in a present, meaningful way during prayers of a different language, and that child was helped. I do pray for people by name, but I like the idea that was in Mr. Rogers of writing their names down so that each utterance is meaningful and no one is forgotten. I generally pray people’s names when I lay down to go to sleep.
I guess what the movie showed me is that there are many ways to help people. I always try to be a positive influence. I check in on the young people I adore and I try to be kind to everyone I meet. I don’t leave the house too often and I tend to feel that my only way of connection is through social media, but there are ways we can be influential without the use of the computer.
If we can be present to the moment with the person that we happen to be with, that’s what’s important.”Fred Rogers
When you are with someone, be truly present. Do not pick up your phone. Do not let your mind wander. Focus on what that person is saying and who they are. This is a valuable moment. Instead of quickly deciding what you are going to say or interject, just listen. How many times do we wish that we could go back and listen to a loved one that has passed? How often do we feel listened to? Such a simple thing to be present with someone, and how powerful.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”.Fred Rogers
Control your emotions. Social media and news thrill themselves by making us hysterical. And I am afraid it is far too easy to fall into it and to snap back cruel responses by fingertip. As the election gets closer, folks are going to get uglier. As more and more of our rights get threatened, people from both sides lash out from fear and anger and personal opinion. Let us avoid all that nonsense and only speak inspiration and joy. Truth and kindness. Fear never solved anything. Talk about your feelings in a personal way to someone you love.
It is really so simple, isn’t it? Do what you love. Do it well. Folks will be ushered into your life who need your love and encouragement, or whom you need. Always be kind. We never know what heartbreaks for fears others are experiencing at any given time. Pray for people quietly by name. Be present and appreciate people for exactly who they are. This world is certainly a better place because Fred Rogers was in it. And it is a better place because you are in it. It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood today. I’m glad to be a part of it.