A Personal Tribute to Fred Rogers

This may be a couple years late, but I’ve been wanting to spend some time talking about the people I have admired throughout my life, and one man that I believe deserves a great deal of praise and admiration is Mr. Rogers. I’ve been watching a lot of old footage of Mr. Rogers recently, and I find it incredibly hard not to cry whenever he talks about how important his work has been to him over the years.

I recently was pretty pissed off when I saw an older Fox News piece that pretty much laid a lot of the blame at the feet of Mr. Rogers for the entitled attitude many of today’s students have. They put forth a study which postulated that because Mr. Rogers convinced all these children that they were unique, and that they were special for just being who they were, that they felt everything in life should be laid at their feet without having to work for it.

The quality of the video is bad, I will admit, and the audio is definitely off in places. It’s very difficult to find a copy of the segment with passable quality. Regardless, the assertion they put forth is absolutely outrageous. While I will admit I believe that in today’s schools we have encouraged an “everybody wins” mentality that does kill competitive spirit amongst students, this was never the fault nor responsibility of Fred Rogers.

Mr. Rogers with King Henry of the Land of Make Believe

Mr. Rogers with King Henry of the Land of Make Believe

Mr. Rogers was concerned about how the needs of children could be served by his television program. Self esteem is needed for a child to become an achiever, and it was foremost amongst his goals to help children realize their uniqueness. In this day in age, when we are so concerned with gun violence and mental illness, he was attempting to help young persons express their emotions in constructive and meaningful ways years ahead of his time.

This was best demonstrated by Rogers himself in 1969, when he testified before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications. President Nixon‘s administration was attempting to cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Rogers was attempting to explain why he believed his show was providing a needed service to the children of America. The testimony is powerful, and definitely a must see. If you watch no other videos I put forward here, check this one out. You won’t regret it.

Mr. Rogers not only convinced them to continue funding PBS, he actually managed to convince them to increase their funding past what it originally was. He was able to convince these politicians of his program’s worth because of the sincere concern he had for the well being of children, and the plainly apparent value of what his good work had to offer.

In 1999 Fred Rogers was inducted into the TV Critics’ Television Hall of Fame. I want to start sobbing every time I watch it, because Rogers gives one of the greatest speeches I  have ever seen in my life. He had a great gift for getting his point across articulately, but in an easy to understand manner.

Anyone who sees that…I don’t understand how they could blame Fred Rogers for the entitled attitude of a generation. The only reason I’m not spouting obscenities regarding the journalistic integrity of Fox News is because I know Fred Rogers would discourage that. He would want this piece to be a demonstration of what is good in life. Fred Rogers was truly a good man. He was one of those special people that came into this world, and he made it a better place for having been here.

I’d like to ask anyone who actually read this far to just stop, stop and take 10 seconds to think about who has helped you get to this point in your life. Think of the people who had an influence…perhaps Fred Rogers was one of them. Take those 10 seconds right now. I’ll watch the time.

No matter where they are, either here or in heaven, imagine how pleased those people must be to know that you thought of them right now.

Thank you Mr. Rogers.

Mr. Rogers quote

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Posted in Christian, Politics, Television
5 comments on “A Personal Tribute to Fred Rogers
  1. kensaied says:

    I am an entitled person because of Fred Rogers. I am entitled to think for myself, to be an inspiration for my peers and friends, I am entitled to living a life above fear, and above hated, and malice, and sorrow. I am entitled to be a human and to treat all others as humans and the way I want to be treated; without prejudice, without stereotypes, and without hate. He taught me many of these things and I am thankful for him. So yes; Fox had it right for once: Fred Rogers made me an entitled person.

  2. Mike Handlin Jr. says:

    Fantastic article and thank you for posting the videos. Fred Rogers’ speeches were amazing.

  3. […] A Personal Tribute to Fred Rogers […]

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