But he was more than just the star of the popular children’s television program “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.” He was a Good Samaritan.
Fred McFeely Rogers (March 20, 1928 – February 27, 2003) saw a need in the lives of American kids (and their parents) and devoted his life to serving them as a friend and ally.
In the early ‘60s, Rogers graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and was ordained a Presbyterian minister. But his approach to preaching the gospel was unorthodox. He traded the pulpit for a cardigan sweater and camera, becoming the church’s first television evangelist — of sorts.
From 1968 to 2001, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” touched the lives of millions. His message of love, kindness and acceptance — paired with his calm, straight-forward delivery — was irresistible. He taught generations of children how to live as friendly neighbors in an increasingly violent and chaotic world. And when children watched his show, they felt seen by a man who made them feel they mattered.
But those concepts weren’t borne in the vacuum of a Pittsburgh TV studio. They were the interpretation and communication of a timeless message — the rebellious and revolutionary call of Christ to love all people and do our best to help those in need. It’s a message we all need to hear, and a message that drives the work of Springs Rescue Mission.
At the Mission, figures like Mr. Rogers are inspiring and influential. They exemplify the people we all wish to be: “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). They remind us to be good neighbors, loyal friends, Good Samaritans — better Christians.
Rogers didn’t wear faith on his sweater sleeve. But Christianity was the bedrock of his life, both personally and professionally. His values were those of Jesus and he saw people the way Jesus did, full of purpose and dignity. He committed his life to sharing the compassion of Christ with his many “neighbors.”
Fred Rogers stood for so many of the values that we cherish at Springs Rescue Mission. Because we love him and his wise one-liners, here are our top 10 favorite Mr. Rogers quotes. Enjoy!
- “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like ‘struggle.’ To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”
- “The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.”
- “And even though no human being is perfect, we always have the chance to bring what’s unique about us to live in a redeeming way.”
- “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”
- “There is no normal life that is free of pain. It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth.”
- “Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.”
- “Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.”
- “All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world.”
- “Love is like infinity: You can’t have more or less infinity, and you can’t compare two things to see if they’re ‘equally infinite.’ Infinity just is, and that’s the way I think love is, too.”
- “There’s a part of all of us that longs to know that even what’s weakest about us is still redeemable and can ultimately count for something good.”
Subscribe to our blog to learn more about Springs Rescue Mission and the people we serve — those who have seen tough times but are committed to breaking the cycles of homelessness, hunger and addiction in their lives. We see stories of hope and transformation lived out every day, and we’d love to share them with you. Won’t you be my neighbor?