I had the pleasure of seeing the ‘Tribute to Children’ statue of Mister Rogers, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in April. It was a beautiful spring day, and we were enjoying a pleasant walk along the river when we came across the statue. Seeing “Mister Rogers” brought back many happy childhood memories of watching his show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood!
Today, May 23rd, the 143rd day in the year, has been declared Mister Rogers day by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, to celebrate Fred Rogers’ message of love, which he often said as ‘1-4-3’ for ‘I Love You’.
“He would always refer to 143 as a way of spreading kindness, and remembering how he felt toward other people,” said Roberta Schomburg, executive director of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College.
I was feeling nostalgic, and bought the book “Life’s Journeys According to Mister Rogers – Things to Remember Along the Way” by Fred Rogers. It is a lovely little book so full of wisdom. One of my favorite quotes is this one:
“just who you are at this moment, with the way that you’re feeling, is fine. You don’t have to be anything more than who you are right now.”
Yes, I think it is a wonderful idea to bring back more of Mister Rogers’ ways of spreading love and kindness to our neighbors. What a gifted person he was! Creator, composer, writer, puppeteer, and host of his show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. In everything he did, he was spreading the message of kindness and love. Always. It might be impressive for this Presbyterian minister to have been inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, as well as having been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But I think the positive impact he had, and continues to have, on countless lives is the true gift which he gave to all of us.
Today’s recognition of Fred Rogers’ message of love and kindness is to encourage a statewide celebration of kindness (not just today, but especially today) – and people are being encouraged to use Twitter with the #143DayinPa hashtag.
The 7,000 pound (3.5 tons) bronze sculpture was created by famed artist Robert Berks. The 10’10” height was Berks’ way to convey the “overwhelming awe” children felt while watching Mister Rogers. The location with the beautiful view along the river was chosen to honor Mister Rogers’ love of swimming. The site also has a sound system, where visitors can listen to 29 musical compositions by Fred Rogers.
Fred Rogers always spoke in such a calm and soothing manner, and his message was always clear and simple. I think we could all benefit from going back to basics to truly focus on what is important: Love your Neighbor.
“Would you be mine, could you be mine, won’t you be my neighbor?”