It is always a beautiful day in Fred McFeeley Rogers' (1928-2003) neighborhood. Born on this day in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the host of PBS' longest-running TV series, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood shared his love with the world for 33 years.
"The general message of the neighborhood is that the truth is best. If we can share ourselves with our kids in ways that aren't frightening to them, that's the greatest gift we can give anyone -- the gift of an honest self," he once explained.
Ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1963, the cardigan-wearing Mr. Rogers dedicated his life to "his congregation"-- children and their families who viewed his show. For generations, his children's program has reached millions of households with the celebration of caring, respect, learning, and honesty. With soft voice, full of love, Mr. Rogers taught children that they were special.
"Children get their earliest notions of God from their earliest caregivers. A good prayer for parents is: 'Jesus, help me grow right along with this little one, and help me to see how I have grown.'"
In 1999, Mr. Rogers was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. In naming the show as one of the greatest of all time, TV Guide praised: "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood makes us, young and old alike, feel safe, cared for and valued. Wherever Mister Rogers is, so is sanctuary."
Although Mr. Rogers last original episode aired in August 2001, PBS continues to air reruns from a rotating library of over 300 episodes. "You don't set out to be rich or famous. What you set out to do is to be helpful," Rogers reflected. "If the other comes along with it, that's OK. But that's not what you set out to be."
Share your love with those around you.