I go to the gym early in the morning before even the dogs are awake.
When I get home, my husband is already on his way to work
and my dogs are waiting at the door to greet me.
About a year ago, I began a ritual that the dogs have come to know and love.
With the serotonin boost from my workout, I walk in the door and say brightly,
"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!"
Then, as their tales wag uncontrollably, I start to sing the song
I learned from Mr. Rogers. As I sing, I pet them enthusiastically
all over their bodies, from heads to tails. When I get to the line
"I've always wanted to have a neighbor JUST LIKE YOU"
I pat them three times on their backs for emphasis
and continue to the end of the song.
I believe Sami and Halle really look forward to this,
but not as much as I do.
It makes me happy and appreciative
Needless to say, I was and continue to be a big fan of Fred Rogers.
He was someone who taught me how to be a good neighbor.
and was a role model for how to love my neighbor.
When I was young, my "neighborhood" was quite limited.
As it should be, as I grew, so did my "neighborhood".
Today, my understanding of my "neighborhood" is quite worldly.
Still, the wisdom of Mr. Rogers can guide us.
If Mr. Rogers had been on television in recent years, I suspect he would have
advocated for the rights of the LGBTQ community. As a mother to a member
of that community, the last quote is especially meaningful.
My neighborhood, now, also includes so many people that I will never meet or know:
refugees fleeing violence and war,
children separated from their parents at the border,
people persecuted because of their race, religion, color,
or sexual orientation,
and so many more.
Mr. Roger's wisdom applies universally and could be used to help make the world
a better place for all.
(For those who may be interested, the documentary
"Won't You Be My Neighbor?"
is excellent! Bring a tissue!)