Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

October 1, 2012

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Fred Rogers was the host of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood television series that ran from 1968 to 2001.  Most of us remember this wonderful, gentle man who cared about children and devoted his life to them.

I am cautiously writing about him today.  Please, please do not repeat any of this unless you read the entire blog.  Remember my recent blog Read the Last Line?  (  This is a blog that will illustrate the importance of “reading the last line.”

I feel the need to write about Fred Rogers.  Do we really know who he was?  A recent email came to me with the following information about him.  The email indicated that he was far from the mild, gentle man who appeared on television. The  report told of his military career.  He was described as a Navy Seal who was well-trained in killing the enemy.  He is said to have as many as 42 “kills” during his service time.  His “other” life was in great contrast to his gentle manner seen on television.  It is reported that the reason he worn a sweater in every episode was to cover the many tattoos on his arms.  He did not want the children to know the man he had been in the past.

The article then revealed that following his military career, he entered the seminary and became a Presbyterian minister.  His life dramatically changed, indicating that he had experienced a “conversion.”  In theological circles it may have been said, “He got saved and his life was transformed.”

Now that is a wonderful story . . . and it is truly possible that it can happen to anyone!  Life can be transformed . . . converted . . . changed!  It is Jesus Christ that can do it in any life!

But . . . hold on!  The above is not true about Fred Rogers.  A Christian?  Yes, but he became a Christian much earlier in his life.  The facts are these:  Fred Rogers was never . . . never in the military!  He was too old to be in the Vietnam war at the time of his supposed military service.  Other legends about him was that he was a Marine sharpshooter with as many as 150 “kills.”  And he did not have a single tattoo!

Here are some of the truths about Fred Rogers.  When he graduated from Rollins College in Florida with a music degree, he began a career in his life’s ambition —  to entertain, especially children.  He received his seminary degree after college, but did not pastor a church, believing his ministry was with children.

Quite a different story . . . eh?  Several lessons for us here.  The false story about Fred Rogers could be a parable with the use a factitious name or no name.  A parable, a teaching method of Jesus, is to  tell a “made-up” story to illustrate a truth.  This “made-up” story about Fred Rogers could be used to illustrate that no matter what our life has been, it can be something truly different because of the power of Jesus Christ coming into a life through faith.

Another obvious lesson is that we need to be extremely careful how we receive information.  We may discover that what we are being told is gossip, untruth, or information mixed with error.  The best way to guard ourselves from being part of a false information train is to ask ourselves how we would feel if untruths were being told about us.  That are so many ways to check reports in our technological world.  For the sake of others . . . and ourselves . . . I encourage you not to be a “forward” to falsehoods.

“I have chosen the way of truth.”  (Psalm 119:30)



1 Comment »

  1. Good lesson. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Betty Lisenby — October 1, 2012 @ 8:12 am | Reply

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