The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,
If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass-
We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
There's big work to do, and there's lesser to do,
If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
It isn't by size that you win or you fail-
Aside from being used on the show, and simply being a good positive message, how does this relate to Mister Roger's Neighborhood? I think Fred must have really believed deeply in the concept of doing your best no matter what the job was, but also in helping others know how much their hard work was appreciated. Certainly he praises the world-renowned musical guests he's had on, like Yoyo Ma or Itzhak Perlman but have you ever noticed how he interacted with the normal folks around his neighborhood? Talking to someone working on an assembly line in a doll factory or a mushroom farm, he always praises them for contributing what they can. He looks at these people toiling in what any other person would consider a frighteningly menial job, looks them in the eye and says "You really must know how to do your job well!", "You must think a lot about the children/people who will enjoy what you make", or simply "I really appreciate what you do,". When was the last time you thought to say that to somebody?! I mean, on the rare occasions someone encounters a truly talented musician or an artist, it's difficult to muster the courage to say something so heartfelt, but would you ever think to thank the bagboy or checker at your local grocery store, not simply with the standard "Thanks" but with such a kind compliment as "I appreciate what you do and am glad that you're here"?
Fred thanks Paper Artist Ben Gonzalez in Episode #1714
Too often work is openly discussed as a drudgery. We complain to our children how tedious it is and how we wish we had their freedom to play. How can we expect them to do their best at everything if we condition them to have a negative outlook at a less than glamorous job? I know that a nice compliment will not make you love a hateful job, but wow! I think if anyone ever gave me such a sincere compliment for something most people take for granted, the rest of the day would certainly be beautiful in my neighborhood. What a wonderful example it would be to children- to show them how to appreciate hard work, not only doing it themselves but to open their eyes to the everyday tasks around them and how valuable each and every job is.