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One Sweet Neighborhood

The “summer of love” was followed by a tumultuous year in 1968. Amidst the war, assassinations and riots, however, a small public station in Pittsburgh aired the first of 912 episodes that would be recorded over the next 33 years. It was a show that promoted love, kindness and acceptance. While geared for children, they are lessons we all can spend time thinking about today.

Fred Rogers was an ordained minister who was concerned with the way television was being produced and consumed, particularly by children. He saw the amazing potential of this expanding medium, but also the terrible possibilities. It was being used primarily to sell things rather than teach. You wonder what he would think of social media today.

In honor of Mister Rogers, a new documentary is hitting theaters nationwide today, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, which looks at his life, show, and impact on a generation of kids. Coming out of the 60’s, he was often viewed as radical for taking on subjects like discrimination, divorce, and depression. He did it from a place of love and kindness that accepted everyone into his neighborhood.

While Mr. Rogers would likely be disturbed by the tenor of today’s discourse and growing anxiety among children for acknowledgement and acceptance, if we could all be sweet more often, the world would be a better place. In his memory, why don’t you consider bringing a sweet surprise to one of your neighbors? This Sweetpotato Kale Au Gratin is likely to get you in the door, or if comfort is what you’re looking for, try this Candied Sweetpotato Casserole to brighten up someone’s day.

“Parents are like shuttles on a loom. They join the threads of the past with threads of the future and leave their own bright patterns as they go.” – Fred Rogers