I’m very excited about the upcoming movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which is about Mr.Rogers! He was a wonderful role model for generations of children and families. His kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness were nothing short of legendary!
Not long ago, I was going through some papers and came across a letter that was dated April 1995 from Mr. Rogers to my daughter, Stephanie. The letter is as follows:
It meant a great deal to me that you wanted to write to me as a part of your class project. I’m glad to know that our Neighborhood was a part of your growing up and that you continue to have such warm feelings about our program.
It was interesting to know about your assignment of writing to people asking them to tell you about their favorite books. You are fortunate to have a teacher who is helping you appreciate books and reading in such a personal way. I’m pleased to send you a letter about that because books have always been important to me. Reading has helped me understand more about myself, about others, and about the world around us. I especially like books about relationships. My favorite book from my childhood was THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and I think I enjoyed it so much because it’s a story about how much we can help each other by caring and communicating.
Stephanie, I hope that you and your classmates will find helpful things and pleasureful things in reading all throughout your lives. Best wishes from all of us here in the Neighborhood, for your schoolwork and for whatever you do. You are special– just because you’re you!
This letter was typewritten on personal stationery and had a real signature! I’ll never forget how excited my daughter was to get this letter. I like the fact that he emphasized the importance of reading and how it helped him learn more about himself. That’s been especially true for me! I believe that the more you know about yourself, the more you can utilize your best qualities! That’s been the motivation for me to write—from a personal point of view—about highly sensitive people, introverts, and social anxiety.
An article I recently read mentioned that Mr. Rogers got up at 5:30 a.m. every morning. Getting up at the crack of dawn meant that he could answer an awful lot of mail! Mr. Rogers received between 50 to 100 pieces of fan mail every day and answered every single one!
I suspect that Mr. Rogers was a highly sensitive person. What do you think? The movie about him will be in theaters starting this week-end. I look forward to learning more. I think the world today could use more people like Fred Rogers! I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.
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