THE GOOD NEIGHBOR by Maxwell King

I finished listening to the audio version of The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers. It was an in-depth look into his life and built a good foundation as to why Mr. Rogers became the man he was. How fastidious he was behind the scenes with the information he so gently passed on to the children of America. “He was fearless enough to be kind.” This sentence made me stop and think a moment. In today’s societal climate, who is being brave and fearless enough to be kind. Fred Rogers was no pushover and he demanded excellence, but he was above all else, kind. ⠀

There were so many times I couldn’t help but compare his work in the 70’s and 80’s with life in 2018. I remember when my son was young there was controversy over Sesame Street’s constant movement and changing from subject to subject on a dime vs the slow and purposeful movements of Mr. Rogers. ‘He worried about the lack of silence in a noisy world.’ I immediately imagined the tv screen of CNN or any other news program. Streaming news at the bottom of the screen, multiple boxes of people and information – all simultaneously. Intentional and slow living – is it a thing of the past or something we long for in the future?⠀

One of Rogers’ professors in seminary talked about ‘guided drift’ – sticking to your beliefs and goals but staying open to new adventures and opportunities. (Dr. Orr, theology professor at seminary and lifelong friend.) What a beautiful concept for lifetime goals: using drift as a mechanism for new growth and learning. I made a note of the phrase to apply to many areas of my life. ⠀

I recommend this book (⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️) but would warn you that it’s thorough about his history. At times I wondered if it was all necessary but found it was eventually helpful in viewing his depth of commitment and passion for each child’s healthy development.

I think we could all use a slow-moving neighbor with a sweater and tennis shoes who asks inquisitive questions about our life and sincerely tries to learn more about the things that affect our everyday existence. We could use one and we can be one. This book motivates me to try harder to delve deeper into the lives of those that surround me daily. ⠀

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