It seems like the legacy of Mister Rogers has been on a lot of people's minds lately. I feel like most of the few posts I've been able to finish since the beginning of the new year have mentioned him, and usually that's been in response to something I've seen elsewhere on the web. Today would have been Mister Rogers' 85th birthday, and a number of websites have posted their own homages to Fred Rogers and his work. Here are just a couple.
My own workday started with a couple of items that, although not intentionally sent with Mister Rogers' legacy in mind, nonetheless were the kinds of things that I think Rogers would have been pleased to see. The first was a letter sent by one of the professors I work with to those of us on the Fuller School of Theology Dean's Office staff. We've all been struggling to get things done in the months since our supervisor's passing in October (this is the person who hired me for this job nearly 13 years ago) as we've worked to accomplish the essential tasks that she used to do, on top of what we already have been doing. This all culminated in a "functional analysis" a couple of weeks ago, whereby we've reworked our job descriptions and sent them to Human Resources as our plan to most effectively accomplish the mission of the seminary with the resources we have available to us. The letter we got from this professor was fairly simple. Just a note to let us know that, despite these struggles, that the support we've provided to faculty in this time "has been as good as it has ever been" over the time (well over a decade) that he's worked here.
That note already had me feeling a bit misty eyed as I started the day, and I hadn't even finished opening my e-mail that had been waiting when I arrived at the office. I soon found another letter, this time from a member of our Building Services team, in response to a request I'd placed for new signage outside one of our offices. That note was, in its own words, "a very special thank you" simply for giving clear instructions, and expressing a wish that he was not legally barred from circulating the request to other employees. A simple thing, but suffice it to say, my day was already starting out very well!
Although Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was on the air for more than three decades (and even more if you count reruns), the message of the show was always the same: send a message to people (especially, but not exclusively to, children) that they are special. That they are of value. The notes I received this morning sent the same message. Just a quick connection to remind me that I am valued. Thank you to those who sent those messages. How fitting to get such reminders on Mister Rogers' birthday!