Facing the impending end of Mr Rogers on television, I've thought a lot about what this really means. I mean the show had a tremendous run, far longer than any other kids show, and perhaps that should be enough. And it also is very dated looking- why should we expect kids to enjoy something that on some level they can tell was made before their lifetime. The argument is also frequently made that the other kids shows are not as good as Mr Rogers was, an opinion I agree with most of the time, but perhaps irrelevant. More to the point, even the good ones are all carbon copies of each other. How many shows do we need that teach the Alphabet? How many that teach thinking skills? Do children really need 5 hours of programming devoted to reading? Mr Rogers, being a show that is wholly unique, not just in the specifics of the program, but in the general things that it tackles, is still needed. It's amazing that no other program has come along and has even attempted to tell children that they are fine they way they are, that feelings are mentionable and manageable, or in the case of the conflict episodes, that understanding your enemy is the best way to make them your friend. After writing to PBS in protest of eliminating Mr Rogers, I was told that they had several wonderful new programs lined up for the new season. The sad point was that, they saw childrens programs as itnerchangeable, and of course that's not true in the least.
My disappointment behind Mister Rogers' Neighborhood being axed is based on the content of the show (and a little bit on my fond memories of watching it myself). As you said, Eric, no other program has attempted to do what the Neighborhood did -- show an unconditional acceptance of all children for who they are, not for what the rest of television is telling them they should be. For most, the term "children's television" brings up ideas of academic education -- alphabet, counting, etc. But what about emotional learning? When considering "education" outside of academia, children's programming is indeed far from interchangeable.
And if there's any doubt how important emotional learning is, how often do we meet people who aren't in touch with thier feelings, or motivations? People who don't know healthy ways to react to their feelings, who let their emotions rule them and are the only ones to be considered. Of course we are all guilty of this at one time or another, but some people have never heard "that any feeling you have is allright, it's what you do with your feelings that's important". I'd say the number of illiterate adults pales in comparison to those who are "emotionally illiterate".
Thanks for presenting the “Conflict” series! It’s been a very long while since I’ve seen this particular 5-episode string, but with your comments and the stills I realized that it remains fresh in my mind. Perhaps someday we will know the real reason this themed series was never aired again, but it’s probably a moot point now that the show has been completely taken off the air. I’m glad I was able to tape every episode from 1979-2003—minus these 5—so I may continue to enjoy them for many years. There was (and still is) always something to learn from this show, no matter what age you happen to be.I pity the youngsters of today who will never get to experience the uniqueness and simplistic beauty of The Neighborhood and the talent of Fred Rogers. When I was growing up the program was on 3 times a day and I watched all 3 times whenever possible. I could never get enough of it. I have been influenced in countless ways by this program and continue to be to this day.We live in a fast-paced society which is moving ever faster and shuns the ‘stop and smell the roses’ philosophy and anything associated with it. And then we wonder why today’s youth have no attention span. Unfortunately, it seems the Mr. Rogers’ show will now forever be part of the dust of antiquity unless someone with executive ability and good sense brings it back.Glad I found your blog!!
I just came across your blog today - nice work! Wow, so interesting about the Isaiah 2:4 text...especially as it aired on Public Broadcasting! Thanks for your efforts to bring back Mister Rogers. I had contacted our local affiliate a few months ago, as I could not believe I just gave birth to my first back in June 2009 and they yanked Mister Rogers a couple months afterwards from its time slot and put it on at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. I was so looking forward to showing this to my daughter when she was a little older. Perhaps some pressure will bring it back.
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