Mr. Rogers is a national treasure. To a lot of folks he may have just been a weird, quiet, old guy in a sweater who wanted to teach your kids about feelings. To me, that’s pretty much what he was for most of my young life. Though the more we research about child development, the more we seem to learn that Mr. Rogers was right. Helping kids navigate their big feelings is one of the biggest challenges that a parent faces, and Mr. Rogers was right there from the start trying to help. Turns out, as we study children, we learn that most of the crazy tantrums and super pouting fits stem from not understanding how they feel and doing what any impulse driven person would do. They just freak out. Mr. Rogers knew there was more to it than that, and if you could help them patiently and calmly walk through the feeling, you could avoid a lot of frustration for you and them.
The reason I decided to write a post about this glorious, sweater-clad human is because a movied called You Are My Friend just got greenlit, with Tom Hanks set to star! Imagine that! The nicest TV guy in America is played by the nicest Hollywood guy in America. I can’t imagine better casting than Tom Hanks to play him. The movie will follow Mr. Rogers relationship with a journalist who was sent to profile him back in the 70’s. This guy apparently didn’t want to have anything to do with a profile on a kid’s TV guy, but came away with a transformed view on life. I can believe that.
There has never been a story about Mr. Rogers that describes a negative interaction. There are mostly stories that end in tears of appreciation for who he was. His patience was something to be admired. He was never in a hurry and never found himself without spare time for a “neighbor” in need. If you ran into him on the street, there’s almost a 100% chance that he would happily talk to you. He was just that kind of guy. There’s a reason that his quote about the “helpers” shows up every time there is a national tragedy. He is basically a symbol for hope in humanity. Probably moreso than Superman at this point.
I’m super excited for this movie.
Mr. Rogers earns PBS funding when Congress threatened to cut it.