Mister Rogers Accepts a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Helps You Thank Everyone Who Has Made a Difference in Your Life

Tele­vi­sion host and children’s advo­cate Fred Rogers was also an ordained Pres­by­ter­ian min­is­ter, for whom spir­i­tu­al reflec­tion was as nat­ur­al and nec­es­sary a part of dai­ly life as his veg­e­tar­i­an­ism and morn­ing swims.

His qui­et per­son­al prac­tice could take a turn for the pub­lic and inter­ac­tive, as he demon­strat­ed from the podi­um at the Day­time Emmy Awards in 1997, above.

Accept­ing a Life­time Achieve­ment Award, he refrained from run­ning through the stan­dard laun­dry list of thanks. Instead he invit­ed the audi­ence to join him in spend­ing 10 sec­onds think­ing of the peo­ple who “have loved us into being.”

He then turned his atten­tion to his wrist­watch as hun­dreds of glam­orous­ly attired talk show hosts and soap stars thought of the teach­ers, rel­a­tives, and oth­er influ­en­tial adults whose ten­der care, and per­haps rig­or­ous expec­ta­tions, helped shape them.

(Play along from home at the 2:15 mark.)

Ten sec­onds may not seem like much, but con­sid­er how often we deploy emo­jis and “likes” in place of sit­ting with oth­ers’ feel­ings and our own.

Of all the things Fred Rogers was cel­e­brat­ed for, the time he allot­ted to mak­ing oth­ers feel heard and appre­ci­at­ed may be the great­est.

Fif­teen years after his death, the Inter­net ensures that he will con­tin­ue to inspire us to be kinder, try hard­er, lis­ten bet­ter.

That effect should quadru­ple when Mor­gan Neville’s Mis­ter Rogers doc­u­men­tary, Won’t You Be My Neigh­bor? is released next month.

Anoth­er sweet Emmy moment comes at the top, when the hon­oree smooches his wife, Joanne Rogers, before head­ing off to join pre­sen­ter Tim Rob­bins at the podi­um. Described in Esquire as “hearty and almost whoop­ing in (her) forth­right­ness,” the stal­wart Mrs. Rogers appeared in a hand­ful of episodes, but nev­er played the sort of high­ly vis­i­ble role Mrs. Claus inhab­it­ed with­in her husband’s pub­lic realm.

The full text of Mis­ter Rogers’ Life­time Achieve­ment Award award speech is below:

So many peo­ple have helped me to come here to this night.  Some of you are here, some are far away and some are even in Heav­en.  All of us have spe­cial ones who loved us into being.  Would you just take, along with me, 10 sec­onds to think of the peo­ple who have helped you become who you are, those who cared about you and want­ed what was best for you in life.  10 sec­onds, I’ll watch the time. Whomev­er you’ve been think­ing about, how pleased they must be to know the dif­fer­ence you feel they have made.  You know they’re kind of peo­ple tele­vi­sion does well to offer our world.  Spe­cial thanks to my fam­i­ly, my friends, and my co-work­ers in Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing and Fam­i­ly Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and to this Acad­e­my for encour­ag­ing me, allow­ing me, all these years to be your neigh­bor.  May God be with you.  Thank you very much.

via Men­tal Floss

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch a Marathon Stream­ing of All 856 Episodes of Mis­ter Rogers Neigh­bor­hood, and the Mov­ing Trail­er for the New Doc­u­men­tary, Won’t You Be My Neigh­bor?

Mis­ter Rogers Turns Kids On to Jazz with Help of a Young Wyn­ton Marsalis and Oth­er Jazz Leg­ends (1986)

Mis­ter Rogers, Sesame Street & Jim Hen­son Intro­duce Kids to the Syn­the­siz­er with the Help of Her­bie Han­cock, Thomas Dol­by & Bruce Haack

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in NYC this Wednes­day, May 16, for anoth­er month­ly install­ment of her book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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