You still have your childhood

In 2011 I watched the movie “Moneyball” 12 times in theatres. Afterward, I bought the DVD and have watched and listened to portions of the movie weekly ever since. The story is filled, beginning to end, with lessons about business, life, and leadership.

This week I saw “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” for the fifth time. The story is filled, beginning to end, with lessons about business, life, and leadership.

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor” is a documentary about Fred Rogers. I remember watching “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” from time to time when I was a kid. Even watched it when I was a teen and adult. I found it mildly interesting. I was much more excited about Bugs Bunny.  I missed the whole point of the neighborhood. I’m sure I was watching with my eyes and brain but not listening with my ears and heart like lots of other kids.

Me with a balloon (10yrs) and my brother, Bill, on the right.

This is not a movie review. This is about why I cried through most of the movie the first time I watched it, and wept at the end – and there’s a difference. Ask Wendy. And this is about why during my fifth viewing I held back the sniffles and took five pages of notes.

There are two things I know for sure regarding who Fred Rogers has become to me. He demonstrates how I want to be with others and he demonstrates how I want to be treated.

I wasn’t the only one emotional in the theatre. There were cathartic experiences happening all around me. He had and still does, a supernatural way of leading children at the moment, and leading adults back to our childhoods. Curiosity. Wonder. Love. Lack of love. How we were treated. Deep feelings. I was very young when I watched a movie that had a scene of a boy drowning. I remember watching the entire movie and then sitting on the floor in front of the television.  My mom came into the room and I burst out in tears and agony. She picked me up, asked what was wrong. I told her the story through my deep sorrow. She sat down with me and rocked me back to health.

Fred Rogers would have been upset that no one was protecting me from the television. But he would have appreciated how my mom explained the story and didn’t leave it up to my own scary imagination which was telling me that drowning is what happens to little boys. Thanks, Mom.

“What children need is protection from the everyday molders of their world.” ~ Fred Rogers on making children consumers.

He reminds us there is something in us that is not lost. Our childhood. And he reminds us to treat children and adults with compassion and understanding. “Think of someone who is extra special to you. Deep down you know they wanted the best for you.” 

I thought of you when I watched it for the fifth time. So I took notes because I wanted to tell you about it.

May I? One more time? There are two things Fred Rogers is to me. He is how I want to treat others and how I want to be treated. He said “Let’s make goodness attractive…people caring for each other.” And by the way, he had a great sense of humor. Business, life, leadership. I like Fred Rogers. And he liked me just the way I am.

During a break in taping, Fred Rogers sits with children to let them get to know the puppets he uses in the Land of Make Believe on Mister Rogers Neighborhood.

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor” is now on DVD. Please make time to click the link below and watch the trailer. You’ll be glad you did.



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