remembering mr rogers
from the sunday new york times...
March 2, 2003
A Lifetime of Beautiful Days
By TAMAR LEWIN
FAREWELL, Fred Rogers, with your cardigan sweaters, your unwaveringly sincere gaze and all your words of wisdom, intended for tough moments just like this one.
In all those years on public TV, Mr. Rogers, in front of all those children wondering how to handle the world's surprises, you never shrank from the hard stuff — from divorce or disability or even death. You scooped that little dead fish right out of the tank and held it up to the camera so everyone could get a good look.
You told a child that whatever their bad feelings, whatever the trouble, it is something you can talk about and it is important.
So let's talk.
As you said: "I like to be told when you're going away. I like to be told if it's going to hurt."
Or, "There's so much to think about when someone you care about has died."
It wasn't just the hard stuff, though. The trick was to make a child feel comfortable in the world.
And you, too, were very special, Mr. Rogers — "the way down deep inside you, not the things that hide you."
It showed in your questions: "What do you do with the mad that you feel when you feel so mad you could bite?"
And your certainties: "No person in this whole world is a mistake. . . . You can never go down the drain."
And, of course, in the bottom line:
"There's never been anybody exactly like you before, and there will never be anybody exactly like you in the future. You're the only one."