Thank you, Mister Rogers.
Thank you still, long after I’ve learned how to tie my shoes, decades since I confirmed that yes, in fact, I would like to be your neighbor.
Because there I was, at the computer early this morning, ready to read through my normal batch of celebrity mom news, reality star bad behavior, body image complaints, political spatting, blah blah blah, and instead I saw this video.
It’s called “Garden of Your Mind,” and it’s a remix of scenes from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood by Symphony of Science’s John Boswel. The haunting (and really quite catching) mash-up is part of an effort by PBS Digital Studios to revitalize some of its old school icons into new age stars.
The late Fred Rogers, PBS says, was an obvious starting point. His Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2001, was one of the station’s most iconic shows.
"When we discovered video mash-up artist John D. Boswell, aka melodysheep, on YouTube, we immediately wanted to work together," says the description on the video on PBS Digital Studios' YouTube channel. "Turns out that he is a huge 'Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood' fan, and was thrilled at the chance to pay tribute to one of our heroes. Both PBS and the Fred Rogers Company hope you like John’s celebration of Fred Rogers’ message."
That message, if you don’t remember, is beautiful. It is about learning, and openness toward the world, and the belief that other people, even when they’re different – especially when they’re different – have much to teach us.
In many ways, the PBS video, which has started to go viral, feels like a manifesto. (A gentle, kind, Mr. Rogers-style manifesto.) It seems like a plea not just for a different sort of childhood, but for a different society; a message from the spirit of Mr. Rogers that we need to step back from what often feels like angry, divided and overly commercialized culture and refocus on creativity and human connection and loving your neighbors.
And on thinking.
“Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind?” Rogers asks, autotuned, over a funky beat. “You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind.”
He goes on.
“It’s good to be curious, about many things. you can think about things and make believe and all you have to do is think – and they grow.”
Thinking, curiosity, make believe. What wonderful things to ponder this morning.
Check out the video, and have a snappy day.