Kindness and Wonder: Mr Rogers biography is a study in empathy and a deep, genuine love for children

Originally published at:

History has been kind to Fred Rogers’ legacy; the beloved children’s entertainer does not have the intergenerational staying power of Sesame Street (thanks in large part to Rogers’ relentless focus on making programming aimed exclusively at small children, without any pretense to entertaining their grownups), but touchstones like his Congressional testimony on public TV funding, his remarks after 9/11 and his look for the helpers speech continue to bring a smile and a tear to all who see them, whether for the first time or the five hundredth; Mr Rogers was exactly what he appeared to be, incredibly, and the riddle of how someone could be so sincere and loving has sent rumormongers off to the land of conspiracy looking for an answer. But the real Mr Rogers story – as chronicled in Gavin Edwards’ new book, Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever – is both more mundane and more amazing than any outlandish story.


Those incapable of believing in human decency reveal their own indecency. Those who lie to destroy human decency reveal their own inhumanity.


Talking of Donald Trump; did you see him crowing over HIS Special Forces pulled off a Bigger Better More Important Assassination than Loser Barack Obama’s SEAL Team.


Can we just have one comments section where we don’t talk about 45?




Rogers’ own career that illustrate how these virtues can improve your life and the lives of the people around you:

Most of them are so easy, often pleasurable, if we’re just mindful. The work is in developing good habits, and Fred Rogers knew the best time to start that.

He had some excellent helpers of his own, by the way.


This too shall pass.


Fred Rogers in a nutshell (from his famous 9/11 PSA)

“Thank you for whatever you do, wherever you are, to bring joy and light and hope and faith and pardon and love to your neighbor and to yourself.”


Hang on a sec, there.

I am very close friends with someone who was a close friend to Fred Rogers for decades. We’ve discussed this, and my friend (like Fred before him) listens intently and shows me compassion.

When I was younger, I couldn’t watch “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”. I had friends who adored the show, but I’d literally go sit in the kitchen with their mothers rather than watch it. I couldn’t believe the show. I thought he was tricking people. No way an adult was kind and gentle like that. I literally could not believe what I was watching, and it scared me.

Fortunately, my life has gotten better. But when someone reacts negatively to an unmitigated good like Fred Rogers, there’s probably a reason why.


should #3 on the list be “MAKE a joyful noise”?




Obligatory xkcd:


I admit I was thinking only of adults when I wrote what I did, because that’s what Cory’s reference to rumormongers and conspiracy put me in mind of. I failed in that moment to consider children who found decent adults impossible, only adults who found decent adults impossible. And I see a substantial difference between the two. An adult who can’t believe in any decent adults logically cannot believe in themselves being decent. There may be many reasons an adult might believe that, but I’m not sure how any adult can be decent if they don’t believe it’s possible. A child is different. I apologize for the confusion I caused in not being precise.


No worries. I just thought it important to add my bit to the discussion.


Obligatory “Yes, yes he could do that” meme.

If you don’t have time for the book, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” (the documentary, not the Tom Hanks movie) will do.



Always. And it was a good observation. I appreciated it. :slightly_smiling_face:


I remember the day he died. On my way home from work that day I stopped at a department store and bought a cardigan sweater. Maybe it was just in my head but I felt that I behaved more kindly to others when I wore that cardigan.


I have a cardigan, albeit without a zipper. It was not easy to find one. I went into Macy’s (the main store, the formerly-largest-department-store-in-the-world) and asked if they had any cardigans. Received a blank stare. “You know, like Mr. Rogers wore. But with buttons, not a zipper.” Received a blank stare. Someone else came over to help me and I repeated my request. “Oh yes! I love Mr. Rogers! No we don’t sell any cardigans.” About as bad as my experience with “the World’s Greatest Toy Store.”

(Turns out H&M had cardigans)

I’m told there’s an episode where Mr. Rogers visits a factory to see where and how cardigan sweaters are made. (A former colleague supposedly showed it in his business class.) I’ve yet to find it, though.


Funny, when I wear my red fleece jacket I get the imoression women react to that.


“the beloved children’s entertainer…”. Beloved children’s educator. Fred would never correct you, but don’t you trivialize his work.