Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mr Rogers and Me.

Mr Rogers vs Barney... and Dora, and Power Rangers..

in a Kid Celebrity Death Match?

Do you even wonder who would win?

Mr Rogers- in a heart-beat.

Not because of his physical prowess, or manly muscle, but because a couple of GENERATIONS of people, of all walks of life would be at his aid in a moment.

Why? Because Mr Rogers communicated what we so desperately needed to hear, in a culture that was changing, where divorce fears and experiences were affecting changes in most homes and neighborhoods.... A world where what you have, or don't , or how you look, or don't, defined your value....

Mr Rogers looked thru the camera, into our hearts, and said :

"It's YOU I like."

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.
But it's you I like--
Every part of you, Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you'll remember
Even when you're feeling blue
That it's you I like,
It's you yourself,
It's you, it's you I like.

Do I think Mr Rogers would "play" today?..Well- it's still running.

Do I think Mr Rogers' approach to children is the only one to utilize? Doubtful.

But, I'll tell you this- prior to his death- Mr Rogers, taped a short video clip for MOPS International, to be shown at a MOPS convention, where he TOLD us we were valued, we were important, that what we do as Moms MATTERED to him, and to God.

Mr Rogers sang us his song.

3,500 women wept. Because we believed him.

Did we believe him because he was so very cool....? Uhhhh no. He was NEVER cool.

Did we believe him because he was so well put together, or slick? Impressive? Nope.

We believed him because he MEANT it.

Fred Rogers was a minister, he knew the kids he was speaking too- (in a cultural sense) he knew the message he had to give, and used his unique voice to speak it, to a generation. More importantly, in my perspective, he was authentic. Believable. Cheesy, but believable.

He used methods that worked, for him. He became PART of the media, without changing his message. He was interesting to kids- though, maybe not so much adults.

Mr Rogers, is now gone. I remember the day his death was announced. Newscasters teared up, I wept. Others teared up and cried. I am sure that every MOPS Mom who was at convention the year his clip was shown... flashed back to that clip.

Mr Rogers was low-tech in a changing media culture of "The Electic Company" and "Sesame Street", There were just the people in his neighborhood, a few puppets, no big flashy animations, not blasting sound and lights......simple music, simple style.

Just a man, a sweater and a message.

Sometimes, moms feel like we are limited, how can we compete with the "media soaked culture" Our kids are in? How can we even keep up, or hold their attention? How can our simple message of love, and God's grace be heard over all the NOISE????

This struggle crosses over into women's ministry, and other relationships.

Maybe- we need to take a more Mr Roger's approach. Not be all "fancy" or "high-tech" "smooth" or "performance perfect"...(Mr Rogers wasn't exactly the most phenomenal person on camera) Maybe we just need to communicate, simply and with heart, the Gospel of God's love, His grace extended to us thru Christ. Then challenge each other to live in such a way as to honor the high-cost of that grace. Maybe we should love un-conditionally and with authenticity. Sharing the truth, in a way that points back to God--- instead of our "flash and dash show"

My Mission- at home- and in ministry, isn't to leave behind great "episodes" and "sound bites" for the media's approval. It's to leave behind a legacy of love- for my God, My Husband, my Kids and Friends.

I don't remember a single critic coming out after Mr Rogers death to criticize his lack of stage presence or his tennis shoe wearing, sweater donning image.....

Mr Rogers wasn't cool. Mr Roger's was himself.

Maybe as mom's, women, and, or wives, we should try the same.

I have read a bit about Mr Rogers, I believe he was a Christian, reaching out to a world that was quickly changing. I'm not sure why Mr Rogers shows taught truths, from scripture- without actually offering the Gospel as it's source.

Maybe it was a marketing thing, maybe it was because Mr Rogers felt differently about his unique calling, I don't know.

But I do know this, as a Mom, and a woman, I'm not bound by those things. I want to communicate the whole of the Gospel, to all those around me. In a way that is authentic and believable.

I want the "songs" of my life, to be sung after I'm gone, like the songs of Mr Rogers.
I want the message to be louder than the messenger. It's not about being cool women or Mom's ,it's about being real and being true to God's calling and truths.

Dear Lord- Help me to serve you well- help me to love my kids and my husband and friends in away that makes them BELIEVE that they are loved- by you first- then by me--- I love you Lord- amen.

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