‘Won’t you be my neighbor?’ Father’s thoughts on recent events

Mailbox in a neighborhood

I remember watching Mr. Rogers on PBS.

I can still hear the all too familiar theme song playing in my ear, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…won’t you be my neighbor?” The endless collection of sweaters. The travels to the land of make-believe. And the message that still sticks with me to this day, love your neighbors.

“You make each day a special day. You know how, by just your being you. There’s only one person in this whole world like you. And people can like you exactly as you are.” – Fred Rogers

Mr. Rogers didn’t care if you were a cotton hand puppet, or if your skin was a different color. He loved everyone equally, and he brought everyone together.

 

We shouldn’t have to take a trip to the land of make-believe to envision a world where we love each other.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the events and the constant stream of violence and hatred in the news, and I can’t help but think that we could all do well by acting like Mr. Rogers. We shouldn’t have to take a trip to the land of make-believe to envision a world where we love each other.  We shouldn’t have to imagine a land where we welcome our neighbors, and we all come together and celebrate what makes us special. There are many things we can do to spread kindness in our daily lives.

I think in times like this we should all stop to ask ourselves some important questions. Have I taken the time to welcome every one of my neighbors? Could I name them each by name? Are there new members in my community I haven’t talked to yet? Did I stand up against bullying? Did I stop to smile at someone today or give someone a hug?

Be a neighbor.

I think there a plenty of opportunities to be a neighbor in our everyday lives. As exhausting as the headlines can be, I know that one of the best things that I can do to combat the violence and hatred in my tiny section of the world is to be a neighbor and to treat every single person I encounter with love and to stand up when I hear people around me spreading hate.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Fred Rogers

a baby holding a hand

We are not born with hatred.

Hatred is taught. I can teach my daughter compassion and understanding; I can encourage others to see everyone as equals, and I can reach out to make all my neighbors feel at home. That’s what I can do today, and that’s what keeps me going through all of this madness and the constant stream of hatred on the news. I can love. And so can you.

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