I saw a video on YouTube last week. I watched it once. Then again. Then again. I’m officially addicted to it. It’s only been online for a week, and it’s already been viewed more than 4 million times. (Watch it, and you’ll understand why. It’s like Pringles. You can’t watch it just once.) It’s a digital re-mix of Mr. Rogers.
You remember his PBS show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood? Well, John D. Boswell of Symphony of Science took some of the most profound things that Mr. Rogers ever had to teach us and set it all to music, then arranged it in a beautiful video for PBS Digital Studios.
If you have children, you’ll want them to see this! Heck, even if you don’t have kids, you’ll want to see it.
Compared to popular and flashy cartoons, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood can seem dull. The camera takes long, slow shots. Time inches forward with tiny little steps. And Mr. Rogers himself is always so meek, so unassuming. You watch him have a conversation with someone. Then he has a conversation with the camera. Then he has a conversation with someone else. It’s quiet, simple, gentle.
Yet, it’s arguably some of the best children’s programming ever to have aired for younger viewers.
That’s because Mr. Rogers actually taught kids how to be. Watch the video for a glimpse into the simple wisdom that guided him.
Gah. I always tear up when he says, “Imagine every person that you see is somewhat different from every other person in the world.” It reminds me of that C.S. Lewis quote in The Weight of Glory:
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal…it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners — no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.”
Given that Mr. Rogers was himself a Presbyterian minister, I guess that’s no surprise.
I’m also drawn to the idea that it’s good to be curious, and that everyone has something to teach us.
So, what does this have to do with food?
Not much. Not really. I can think of some ideas if I really — s t r e t c h — for it.
This video’s mostly about being a healthy soul, an authentic human, a person who thinks and imagines. So, I apologize for the break in the regularly scheduled updates on food politics, health, & nutrition topics.
Hopefully, you’ll have enjoyed this little time out as much as I did.
What’s your favorite part of the video?
Please share. I really want to know.
(photo by PBS Kids)