Fred Rogers — of the famed TV show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” — passed on today, succumbing to stomach cancer at age 74.
Charles Taylor has already written a kind tribute to the man, and indeed, there’s not that much more I can add.
In fact, I’m usually one to poo-poo public expressions of sympathy for ‘celebrities’ who have died. But Fred Rogers is different.
With so many famous people playing roles on screen that often contrast shockingly and unenviably with their real personas, Mr. Rogers was apparently the real deal.
He cared about kids. And as Taylor suggests, Mr. Rogers always spoke with children, not at them, conversing soothingly and thoughtfully but never condescendingly.
He was a role model of civility and kindness. And in today’s world in which most of us (including yours truly) sadly do not even interact with our actual neighbors, I can only wish that someday we’ll better realize the admirable connection that Mr. Rogers so consistently portrayed and espoused.