Fred Rogers’ now-famous story of how his mother taught him to find the good in tragic situations has had plenty of opportunity for replay of late. And there is evidence that his words are having an impact. In the aftermath of the April 15 Boston bombings, the internet is filled with stories of kindness and heroism, stories of helpers stepping out of the sidelines and into the action. Just Google “Boston bombing heroes” and you’ll find hundreds of examples.
What I like about Fred’s mom’s encouragement is this: She doesn’t deny that tragedy happens. And she doesn’t try to shield her son from it. In fact, she urges Fred to look directly at it—but she gives him something specific to look for. “Look for the helpers.”
Fred’s hope in sharing his mother’s wisdom was that television and other media would include “the helpers” whenever they report a tragedy. And it seems that this is happening—not only from mainstream, broadcast media, but also from ordinary people tweeting and blogging and sharing.
I love that.
Thank you, Fred. (And Fred’s mom.)
To learn more about the history of Mister Rogers’ message of hope, read this post by Aisha Harris.