Yesterday I went to watch the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” I was expecting it all year because I was growing up watching Mr. Rogers. Surprisingly, it was not a movie for children but rather a complete inspiration for adults about forgiveness and using our words to build others up.
The story was actually about the newspaper reporter who was assigned to interview Fred Rogers and it changed his life after meeting him.
Journalists often have the image of getting facts without being emotionally involved. When the reporter went to interview Mr. Rogers, he did not know that the tables would be turned and that he would be the one to answer questions and would eventually have to make a choice to forgive his own father and make peace.
Hr. Rogers was more like a therapist who looked at the soul of every person he met to find the heart that needed healing. He was soft and could see through the tough outside. He prayed for people by name every night. He loved his wife and children. He loved his community and viewers. He lived the example I wish I could follow.
The story begins at a family wedding where the reporter fought in a fight with his father who had a history of alcohol abuse. He had never forgiven his father for leaving the family and his wife who died.
The interview ended up being an observation of a sincere soul that touched lives everywhere he went. The reporter never got a typical sit-and-answer session. He had to follow Mr. Rogers around because he was so busy and never gave a straight answer but was the one who asked the questions.
Hr. Rogers knew what it was like to tease as a child because of being chubby. He remembered crying and wanted to be accepted. As an adult, he used his talents to help children learn to express their feelings in a healthy way.
Although I have good intentions for the most part, I know that I am obliged not to talk kindly about some individuals I am frustrated with. I forget the saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.”