Speck was a little under the weather recently, and I took the opportunity to show her her first episodes of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. She was under the impression that she wouldn't like them (having seen some documentary footage about him, maybe?), but she was totally engrossed, from the first shoe-change to the bonus-materials tour of a construction paper factory, and eager to see them again.
For me, the experience was less of recall from my own childhood -- honestly, who remembers anything specific from age 4? -- than of an overwhelming wave of appreciation for this man and his approach to children, his understanding of their questions about the world, and his ability to talk to them right out of the television in a way that made them want to answer back and care about their friendship with him. It was all I could do to not openly weep right there on the couch, and this little exchange of letters allowed me to do it just now at the office instead. What a delicate appreciation he had of the people he was addressing, and a gentle way of giving them a gift from a distance.
Thanks, Mr. Rogers, for all the time you took making good things in this world, and for the rare devotion to focus on little kids as people for so many years. A higher being in a sense that many religious traditions would aspire to...
(via Medley on Twitter)
Edit: idiotic to write about Rogers without linking to this profile, about which I can only say, Holy crap!