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It's 'Won't You Be My Neighbor' Day
It's 'Won't You Be My Neighbor' Day
If you didn't know it already, today is Mr. Rogers' birthday.
Yes, that Mr. Rogers.
A man with the most extensive red cardigan sweater collection this side of the equator; a man who wasn't afraid to take his fancy shoes off on camera and slip on a pair of comfy sneakers.
Come on, sing it with me, for old times' sake: "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor..."
Mr. Rogers, whose full name was Fred McFeely Rogers, created and starred on the popular show Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood from 1968 to 2001, visiting living rooms across America for decades. His show encompassed what it meant to be kind, to be of service to others, to be the very best friend and neighbor you could possibly be.
His show wasn't fancy, his message pure and simple, yet he managed to capture the hearts of millions of children and parents with his soft-spoken voice and devotion to bringing out the best in people:
It's you I like,
It's not the things you wear,
It's not the way you do your hair --
But it's you I like.
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you --
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys --
They're just beside you.
Rogers, who passed away from stomach cancer in February 2003, would have turned 84 years old today. In honor of his birthday and the legacy of kindness he left behind, I have an idea that's better than cake (I know that sounds almost impossible, but trust me).
It's called the "Won't You Be My Neighbor" Day campaign and it's celebrated in cities across the country with a variety of events, including sweater drives of course!
Let's take this day to honor Mr. Rogers by being the very best that we can be to a neighbor (or, if you're feeling particularly in the giving spirit, more than one). Let's do something nice for someone who's least expecting it. Let's show our appreciation for someone whose job it is to make our lives easier, someone who gets frequently overlooked in this fast-paced society that values efficiency over a human touch, someone like your postman, grocery store clerk, or librarian.
Did you know that it doesn't take much effort to put a smile on someone's face? That's not something I learned from a fancy study funded by Colgate toothpaste. It's something I've learned through daily life and watching those smiles spread for miles.
So who's ready to get crazy and bake some cookies, pay a stranger's toll, open a door or two, or give up the perfect parking space in a crowded lot?
Join me, why don't you, in making the world a better place for our neighbors today.
And if you've got one handy, put on your red sweater and a pair of sneakers.
I have a feeling Mr. Rogers would be proud.
*Cookies go a long way in making someone feel appreciated. Put a giant grin on your neighbor's face by whipping up a batch of someNutella Marshmallow Cookies. I loved this easy recipe I found from Stephanie of 52 Kitchen Adventures!
*Taking the toll today? So is the person behind you. Why not surprise a stranger and make their day by paying their toll? Being sneaky can be fun and it'll make you smile thinking about their surprised reaction!
*Donate something. Anything. Clothes (you're not really going to wear THAT again, are you?), toys that could use a new home, blood that could save a life.
*Help someone cross the street,or load their groceries into their car. Old fashioned? You betcha, and I think Mr. Rogers would approve.
*Compliment an exhausted mom. Especially if she's outnumbered and her children are bouncing around like wild banshees in public. Then offer to look the other way while she makes a run for it.
*Write a thank you note and give it to your child's teacher, your mailman, the Cal Trans worker who's fixing the road near your house. Stick a lottery ticket inside and you'll really make their day.