Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Yes, Mister Rogers, I’ll be your neighbor

Oh, if only I could.

Jerry and I went to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor last week. Like most everyone else who has seen it, we squalled.

One of the most poignant moments for me was when ten-year-old quadriplegic Jeffrey Erlanger  appeared on the show and he and Fred Rogers sang It’s You I Like to each other. Evidently, Erlanger had no idea they’d be singing that song and just jumped in with Mister Rogers. I remembered seeing the episode with my own children. But my memories are not just from seeing it with my kids. I watched Mister Rogers as a child and found the show a peaceful oasis in a quagmire of ongoing difficult circumstances in my life.

He was my neighbor then and I was his. When life seemed to be going off the rails, I could count on him for thirty minutes a day to have a quiet soothing voice and speak helpful words either as himself or through puppets like Daniel Tiger. The show didn’t skirt around topics like assassination, racial injustice, and divorce but dealt with them head on.

Mr. Rogers helped me, helped us deal with the hard things in our lives.

In an interview apparently done before the turn of the century, Rogers said he believed the biggest challenge in the new millennium would be to “make goodness attractive.”
If we consider the media offerings today, we would have to agree. I have had my fill of meanness, lewdness, snarkiness, and sarcasm. But I have not despaired, because I see people like Chip and Joanna Gaines, Tim Tebow, and my favorite author, Jan Karon, who are using their platform for good, who are eschewing a public appetite for crudeness and choosing a higher road. We expect those in the ministry to do this, but there are those in athletics, in entertainment, in publishing, in education and everyday folks who have chosen to spend their lives doing what Rogers hoped “make goodness attractive.”

I think of my sister, Tammy, who spent thirty-one years in early elementary education and consistently demonstrated goodness to those children in her classroom. I am thankful there are many others like her who are dedicating themselves to that endeavor.

The children’s class I lead at church recently finished a series on the fruit of the spirit. We developed a fun talk show type format for the series and when we were to discuss goodness, we invited our friend Randy for an interview. Randy spends a lot of time helping with a local food ministry. The kids loved hearing about the ministry and some have even volunteered there. To me, Randy makes goodness attractive in his life. That’s why I wanted to interview him.

Fred Rogers is gone and seeing the movie made me realize how much we lost when he passed. I miss him, but I’m grateful for the people I know who exhibit goodness. Rogers’ challenge is before us. How will we, how will I make goodness attractive to those in our/my sphere of influence? We can’t, unless we do it the same way he did and allow God to work out His fruit in our lives.

Thank you, Fred Rogers for a lifetime of living above the fray and showing us what being a neighbor and goodness really look like.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control” (Galatians 5:22).

Check @Beth MooreLPM on Twitter as she and her worship leader, Travis Cottrell sing, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” So fun!!

Rogers’ challenge is before us. How will we, how will I make goodness attractive to those in our/my sphere of influence? (Click to tweet).

Remember Faith in the Fashion District is now available for presale at many online retailers .
“As a Ford model during the 1980’s, the New York fashion world was my world. Beverly’s encouraging stories of how God moved in that sphere help us realize that no matter where we are— even on Seventh Avenue—God wants to use us for His glory.”
Nancy Stafford
Actress (“Matlock”), Speaker, and Author  

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