Why we need Mister Rogers now more than ever

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Many admire the classic children’s television show, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” for its educational and entertainment value, but most people agree that the creator and host Fred Rogers made the show lovable. 

Dr. Sarah Coyne, Brigham Young University child development professor in the school of family life, studies the impact media has on children and families. She said, “‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ is just on the top in terms of forward-thinking content and in terms of helping children to become truly great human beings.”

Yet not many college-age students know all that Fred Rogers and his show accomplished. A recent poll shows that out of 300 college students, 93% know who Mr. Rogers is, but out of that 93%, a whole 64% say they know very little about him.

However, some college-age students grew up watching Mister Rogers.BYU student Lily Ballif said, “As our generation gets older, I think we need to look to people who are not so politicized, and Mister Rogers isn’t someone I would necessarily associate with that.” 

Another BYU student, Cayen Eastman, said Fred Rogers inspired people to do what’s right and to spread positivity.

“I think one of his biggest messages was about tolerance and loving others,” said BYU student Amanda Wisner. “I think in this day and age, we could use a lot of that.”

Dr. Coyne says she thinks we should follow Mister Rogers’ example: “Mister Rogers represented something so pure and so good and so full of hope for the next generation, and so I think we can embody that as a society if we stretch ourselves.”

“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” encourages everyone to be a little more kind, tolerant and friendly — and to welcome all into the neighborhood. 

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