I just finished a quick, enjoyable read; Life’s Journeys According to Mister Rogers: Things to Remember Along the Way by Fred Rogers. It is a short, simple collection of insights and proverbs from the host and creator of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. As I review and reflect upon different ideas in the book over the upcoming weeks, I plan to share some of my favorites. This my first one.
Fred noted, “The media shows the tiniest percentages of what people do. There are millions and millions of people doing wonderful things all over the world, and they’re generally not the ones being touted in the news” (p. 127). While he wrote this before the democratizing impact of the Internet, it still resonates. We certainly get to learn about more people’s stories now that anyone with an Internet connection can share a story, picture, video, or image. Yet, there are so many more stories that are unknown, wonderful things that people are doing in their lives, relationships, families and communities. There are pieces of art that people create and never share. There are kind words and gestures that go unnoticed by many in the world.
This is not some Pollyanna view of the world. Fred Rogers recognized that there was plenty of pain and suffering, that there are bad things happening in the world as well. However, he suggested that the bad reaches the headlines and gets media attention more often than the good. His statement seems to represent a life philosophy tied to the idea that it is wise to also think about the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Phil 4:8). We can learn good and important lessons from non-examples in the world, examples of things and people that we do not want to emulate. We can also learn much from attending to the wonderful things that people are doing as they discover ways to live out their unique potential in the lives.