Over the past week or so, PBS has been in the news a lot, mostly in regard to Mitt Romney’s statement that he would cut funding for the organization out of the federal budget. This brought to mind a fantastic speech given by Fred Rogers, one of my heroes, given at another time when PBS funding was under consideration by the federal government—if you’ve never heard this speech before, take a few minutes out of your day and watch it here:
One of the things I most appreciate about Rogers is his constant (and consistently) calm and kind nature. In this speech he never grows angry about the idea of cutting funding for an organization he certainly had both professional and personal investment in—instead he quietly talks to the congressmen about what he does and why it is important, to great effect as you see at the end of the video. Of course, this is just how he was. I don’t have to tell you that, because if you’ve ever seen an episode of his classic tv show, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, you know that within moments of seeing him walk through the front door of the house, reaching children at their own level without ever becoming condescending.
My thoughts about Rogers’ nature also came into contact with Sonny Lemmons’ recent post, “The Eyes Have It”, also well worth your time. We live in a world that seems to grow more frenetic and less forgiving every day, and it is good for us to slow down our lives and make real connections. Put down your phone or tablet. Turn off the tv or computer. Make a real connection with people. Meet them on their level. Slow down and enjoy interacting with people, and make eye contact. It can be hard to do, particularly because we live so much of our lives in that fast-paced world, but it’s not only good for other people and your relationships with them, but it is good for yourself to take a step back and just spend an hour watching the birds. You’ll have another chance to do whatever was pulling you away from these other people, or you might find that it really didn’t matter anyway.
Slow down. Enjoy life. Let the day take you where it will take you. Love the people around you, slowly, kindly, and gently.