May 1967 saw the start of a neighborhood that now stretches around the world and beyond time. This month marks Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood 50th anniversary. Right when we need him most, once again, we have his reminder to “Look for the helpers,” in the midst of terrible tragedy.
News coverage has shocked us and made our hearts tremble. Even in the midst of this though, the news also includes stories of the helpers. A woman rushed into the area when she heard children screaming and led them to safety, a taxi driver drove people all night to where they needed to go. More people and businesses have responded with whatever they can do. In Mister Rogers words, there are “always people who are helping.”
Whether children know what has happened or not, they are still affected because we are. If they have questions, we can explain something very sad happened and we are sad when we think about the people even though they are far away. In our own neighborhoods, is there someone who we can help? There are many ways children can help, too.
Some simple ways to help are to make a batch of cookies for someone who cannot get out much and deliver the cookies to them. At this time of year, there could be flowers in the garden. Pick some flowers together, put them in a jar, and take them to a neighbor. Kids themselves can help us sort out clothes that are too small for them or toys they don’t use anymore. These can be taken to a thrift store or other charity. Do you have any elderly neighbors that could use a hand weeding a garden? New families in the neighborhood might appreciate an invitation to go to the playground for some fun and sun.
No matter where we live, we might be able to show our kids what it means to be a helper. We have no idea what the future will bring for our children, but we can help them by giving them words and actions to live by. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood 50th Anniversary reminds us the world is our neighborhood and in it, there are helpers.