Since about 5am yesterday morning, I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about the loss of Mr. Rogers – it’s hard to think of him as Fred – and what he meant to children. Frankly, I think he represented what children’s television should be. His show was directed squarely at children, unlike many other programs that masquerade as “educational” but are really directed toward parents who buy products. The bright colors, loud soundtrack, and frentic pace seem to have coincided with the alarming rise of attention deficit disorder.
Mr. Rogers’ quiet delivery and genuine interest in his audience was so unusual that it became almost a joke among most people… except the kids. The things you learn from Mr. Rogers! Feed the fish everyday. Wear comfy shoes around the house. People care about you. Create your own imaginary world.
We need Mr. Rogers today more than ever. And even though he has been retired for years now, those 900-some shows on videotape will – one hopes – never be retired. We like you just the way you are.