Fred Rogers, Dead at 74.
I appreciated Mr. Rogers more as an adult than I did as a kid, I think. I used to settle down to watch when my kids did, and with several small children in the house a moment of peace was rare. I loved when he took us to factories to see how crayons and chewing gum were made, and brought us to the pool where he swam. I loved hearing him sing "I Like to Be Told", because even as an adult, the idea that someone cared enough to let someone know if something would hurt was comforting.
The puppets, although whimsical and educational, were the least reason why I liked the show. I liked Fred Rogers. I never got off on making fun of him, because I thought he was way too important to the world for mockery. Here's a guy who genuinely loved children. He stood up for them when nobody else would.
I remember a few years ago, I think it was at the Emmys or some other awards show, Mr. Rogers was given a lifetime achievement award. Instead of giving a lengthy speech, he asked everyone to close their eyes, and think about a deceased grownup who had made a difference in their lives when they were a child. These were celebrities, people like Madonna and such. I read that there wasn't a dry eye in the place. I had recently lost a family member, and that speech-that-wasn't-a-speech really hit home for me.
My favorite quote from Mr. Rogers: "We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say 'It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.' Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes."
Fred Rogers saw the need and responded. I definitely consider him one of my heroes.