I should Google the article. Some college kid told a story about how he was in a dark place in his life. Not doing well in school, feeling like he's unsure where to go with his life, making bad choices. Quietly, playfully suicidal. You know, typical early 20's shit.
He'd heard Fred Rogers was giving some kind of speech at his school but was surprised to get off the elevator at precisely the same time Mr Rogers got off the adjacent elevator.
So dudes like "HEY! YOU'RE MR ROGERS!"
And Mr Rogers goes, "were you one of my neighbors growing up"
Dude beams and says yes, yes I was. So Mr Rogers says "well how are you feeling today"
Dude tries to play it off like ohh, I'm okay, been having a tough day but I'm okay
And I guess Mr Rogers just went all Mr Rogers on this young 20 something college dude and says "well would you like to sit down and talk about it?" - you know, with that perfect Mr Rogers voice that always calms you down and opens you up. So they did it, and dude opens up and gets some simple but wise advice and walked away feeling much better about things.
I'm just gonna go Google the article ..
Finally, a question I can answer!
When I was about 5 years old, my older brother was a guest and I got to attend the taping. I remember being SO upset to see the neighborhood as a studio set. I couldn't understand how it looked like the neighborhood I knew from TV but, I don't know... wasn't the neighborhood I knew at all. I melted down - sobbing, hiding myself as best I could behind my dad's legs, hyperventilating - the whole bit. My parents started freaking out, too -- ssshhing me and trying to peel me off of them, embarrassed, I'm sure.
Mr. Rogers and the show's crew were prepping with the child guests at the point I had my meltdown. Mr. Rogers (according to my mom) politely excused himself from the group, came over to me, and knelt down beside me.
No joke, it was like he had this bubble of peace and tranquility that just enveloped me as soon as he got near me. He worked his Mr. Rogers magic - calmly introduced himself, asked my name, told me that he was so excited to meet me. He said he noticed that I was upset and that he was really sorry for it, because the feelings of his friends mattered very much to him. He asked me why I was upset. Through post-sob hiccups, I pitifully told him that the neighborhood looked different from TV. He said he understood how that could be upsetting. Then he asked, "Does it feel like the neighborhood you know? Does it feel like a place to be with good friends?" Completely calmed me down - both with his tone and his message.
The experience had a huge impact on me. My parents (wonderful as they were) were very reactionary in raising us - the default was to try and pacify, mitigate, avoid, deter, quell, or control our (bad) behaviors / super-charged reactions. But at that age, a lot of "bad" behavior is really just a kid's imperfect way of expressing and processing big, new emotions. When Mr. Rogers knelt down to talk to me, it was the first time any adult had outright acknowledged my feelings, made me feel safe to express them, and made sure I knew that expressing them was okay (and healthy!). Because of this experience, as an adult I make it a point to verbally acknowledge my children's feelings before correcting their behavior. Seems to work - my kids are pretty awesome little people!
So, yeah. Mr. Rogers is amazing.
I wish Mr Rogers was still around to deal with our current president : /