Probably lots of you have already seen this video, a auto-tune remix of quotes from Mister Rogers turned into a really lovely piece. If you haven’t seen it already, go ahead and watch now–if you aren’t a confirmed Mister Rogers hater (I know they exist) then you will enjoy it.
After a week in which two separate wild boys in groups I was supervising burst into a certain song with a certain incredibly stupid dance with the initials GS, I especially love listening to Mister Rogers. And I wish there was a modern-day Mister Rogers out there talking to preschoolers, but I don’t think there is. All of the television shows for kids that I see are:
A) Violent cartoons
B) Vulgar cartoons
C) Curriculum-based cartoons
D) More curriculum-based cartoons
Where is the live human being? Where is the adult person who speaks slowly enough that toddlers can follow (really slowly) and who takes the time to explain things? Where is the person who stops and tries to figure out if kids know what the heck they’re talking about? Where is the person who tries to explain the really hard stuff in life to kids?
Fred Rogers will forever be one of my heroes, because he spent his life trying to help kids understand the world, and understand themselves. If he were alive today, he would go talk to a musician about how auto-tune works, and he would experiment with it himself. He would encourage kids to experiment for themselves, too. And then he’d tell them to go dig in the dirt or something that wasn’t staring at a screen.
Sure, it’s partly nostalgia for a less frenetic existence. Sure, the sets were tacky, and the puppets old and beat up…which I think was part of the point. Sure, there were moments that made all adults cringe (though nothing like on a scale compared to Barney). But Fred Rogers was an amazing blend of heart and intelligence. He is speaking to the two and three-year-olds out there, but I feel inspired to pay attention to the garden of my mind, too.