I read an article in the Atlantic today written by Tom Junod about his friendship with Mr. Rogers. This friendship is the basis of the recent movie starring Tom Hanks called A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
In this article, Junod shares a story about what happened when Mr. Rogers assigned one of his show writers who was a child development expert to write a manual for doctors on how to talk to children. “When she handed him her opening, he crossed out what she’d written and replaced it with six words: ‘You were a child once too.’”
These words keep ringing in my head: “You were a child once too.”
The picture below is one of the daughter of a woman named Esther whom we sponsored when she was growing up. The joy on her face is contagious.
It reminded me that I was a child once too, and I immediately thought of this picture of me when I was about her same age.
These pictures and this message from Mr. Rogers remind us that we were children once too. Junod continues his story about Fred’s legacy: “He wanted us to remember what it was like to be a child so that he could talk to us. He wanted to talk to us so that we could remember what it was like to be a child. And he could talk to anyone, believing that if you remembered what it was like to be a child, you would remember that you were a child of God.”
Emily P. Freeman reflects on this in her own way:
“Look for the child in the person across the political aisle, in the brother who you can’t get along with, in a customer who refuses to bend, in the partner who won’t see it your way, in the person on the other side of the jail cell.
Look for the child behind the eyes of your opponent, your teenager, your spouse, your boss, your Uber driver.
Look for the child in the person who disagrees with you, who stands against you, who offends you.
Look for the child when you can’t seem to come to a resolution, when your family differences are so strong, you can’t see straight. When the list-making and the round and circle conversations don’t seem to be getting you anywhere, look for the child in them.
You don’t have to embrace them, befriend them or even trust them. But God invites you to see them as he does and to regard them accordingly.”
I encourage you to remember this phrase this week that "you were a child once too" and so are all the other people who cross your path today. Tom Junod shared that Mr. Rogers “prayed for the strength to think the same way about everyone. She is special; there has never been anyone exactly like her, and there never will be anyone exactly like her ever again; God loves her exactly as she is.”
May we all know that we are children of a King who loves us so, and may that knowledge shape the way we view the people and the world around us.