August 18, 2014
Since Fred Rogers was host of a TV show that ran from 1968 to 2001, young children today may not know him — unless their parents help them tune into the PBS Kids show on the Internet.
However, those who graduated on May 20, 2001 from Marquette University were a prime audience for an address he delivered at the university. Here are a few excerpts from the talk:
For a long time I wondered why I felt like bowing when people showed their appreciation for the work that I’ve been privileged to do. What I’ve come to understand is that we who bow are probably — whether we know it or not – acknowledging the presence of the eternal: we’re bowing to the eternal in our neighbor. You see, I believe that appreciation is a holy thing, that when we look for what’s best in the person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does. So, in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something truly sacred.
. . . You don’t ever have to do anything sensational in order to love or to be loved. The real drama of life (that which matters most) is rarely center stage or in the spotlight. In fact, it has nothing to do with IQs and honors and the fancy outsides of life.
What really nourishes our souls is the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the foundation of our very being is good stuff.
I wanted to be with you today because I know that many of you grew up with our television neighborhood — some as children, some as parents — and I’m proud of the way you’ve grown.
Before I say good-bye and bow again to the eternal within you, I’d like to give you the words of one of my favorite neighborhood songs. This song is called “It’s You I Like.”
It’s you I like, it’s not the things you wear.
It’s not the way you do your hair,
but it’s you I like.
The way you are right now
the way down deep inside you
Not the things that hide you
not your diplomas
they’re just beside you.
But it’s you I like, every part of you,
your skin, your eyes,
your feelings, whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
even when you’re feeling blue,
that it’s you I like, it’s you yourself.
It’s you it’s you I like!
When you watched Mr. Rogers, you knew that he truly did like the people he met — and because of that, you were more open to liking other people.
How will you look at others today? Will you try to “like” them, or will you judge them as unworthy of your kindness?
Incidentally, you can read the entire speech on the Marquette website.