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Won't you be my neighbor?

July 20, 2022 - 00:00
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Just lately after attempting to digest some of the major news stories of the day, I found myself wishing for Superman to show up and save the day. Or maybe John Wayne, or John Rambo for that matter. My line of thought centered around quick, easy solutions to fix all of our problems, but after further inspection, I came to the conclusion that we need more people like Fred Rogers than we do people of power and strength, be they fictional or real.

If you are of a certain age, you certainly know the name Fred Rogers. My Mom could leave all three of us kids for an hour straight with our eyes glued to the television while we watched Sesame Street followed by Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Maybe she laid down for a nap during that time – I really don’t know where she was because I was so enamored with those shows. From the opening credits with that great jazz piano theme song to the last note at the end of the epi sode I felt like he was talking to just me.

It was really groundbreaking television when the show started in the 1960s because it was the first of its kind to be geared exclusively towards children. Besides the “Land of Make-Believe” on the set that I was convinced was real for a long while, there were such great segments that helped me, and millions of other kids deal with certain situations in life and the emotions that we all have. Grief, sadness, anger, loss are all part of who we are and getting through those tough times makes us stronger. I first learned that from Mr. Rogers and I’m still learning about it today and I try to pass on healthy ways for us to get along with one another in this crazy world we live in.

Another big thing that Mr. Rogers taught me was about making choices. His take on it was that our choices lay the foundation for our well-being and for the person that we will become. He pondered about what would drive someone to make a choice to kill innocent people, to blow up a building or to shoot up a school. Those same people, he posits, could have chosen to let their anger, frustration, or self-loathing out in just about any other way. Perhaps they didn’t have a healthy way of dealing with emotions, who knows? But 5-year old’s get it.

When I think of Fred Rogers, I see him as a minister of peace. His warm, genuine way of speaking was that of a Saint, in my opinion. He had a way of making us think about the people in our lives and how their impact made us who we are. He would often pause in his speeches and ask the audience to take just 60 seconds to think about those people. The driving force behind this was to emphasize the quote “What is essential is invisible to the eye” and that we are all essential to each other.

I would like to close this article with some words from Mr. Rogers himself. He often sang a little tune, and these are some of the lyrics: “It’s you I like, it’s not the things you wear, it’s not the way you do your hair, but it’s you I like, the way you are right now. I hope that you’ll remember even when you’re feeling blue that it’s you I like, it’s you yourself, it’s you, It’s you I like.”

The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Alan Shoalmire. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.

Alan Shoalmire is a resident in Grimes County and the owner of Grill Sergeant Hotdogs and submits a column to the Navasota Examiner every other week.