My beginning level of understanding began when I heard little kids ask adults to be quiet when Mr. Rogers came on the television. They would pull up their pillows and blankets and get comfortable ready to enjoy the next slice of time with their television friend. Much has been said with a snicker about Mr. Rogers but, there seems to be a deep-seated quality that exists with the show that generations of kids find to be a special part of their day. This article is an opportunity to examine the show in order to expand one's perception about what I perceive to be one of the slickest head trips on television. Of course, all evaluation begins with perception.
There is also a lot of implicit and explicit order in the performance of Rogers. Beginning at the point where he hangs up his jacket in the closet, to changing his shoes, to feeding his fish, his tasks are done in a deliberate and responsible manner. Few programs on television make clear the message of appropriate behavior in the manner that Mr. Rogers does while in the neighborhood. Many of the basic needs are met in this 'hood. Belonging and love, freedom, fun and enjoyment, power and empowerment all are demonstrated in this curriculum. You always get the direct impression that you belong here and are never reprimanded for having missed any of the sessions. It's sort of a television version of unconditional love. The viewer is continually empowered as Rogers works to talk with the child rather than, at them.