Growing up, I watched a lot of Mister Rogers.
I never knew much about the show or the man behind it. But I do remember thinking, even at a young age, there was something very special about him. The way he always looked directly at me through the camera. The way that he deliberately changed from his outside jacket to his inside cardigan and always took the time to sit and take off his shoes. The way he patiently communicated with all the people in his neighborhood. He seemed to give infinite time and space to everything he did.
I recently watched the documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? and learned that this level of intention wasn't just an act he put on for the show — it was how Fred Rogers carried himself in life. Through his intention in every task and his presence in each moment, Rogers had the ability to connect in an incredibly meaningful way with the people around him.
Rogers’ 1969 testimony to the U.S. Senate in support of public television funding is a touching example of this.
(Watch the video or read the transcript.)
You can feel the weight and emotion in every word. Rogers brings a sense of vulnerability and power to the moment that you are able to feel deep in your heart.
I've watched the clip a dozen times and I still get goosebumps. It is as if you can see the Senate’s tough exterior slowly melt away as Rogers shares his deep concerns for children and his desire to help them.
It’s incredible the impact we can have when we communicate, act, and embrace each other with intention.
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