When my sons were small they loved watching Mr. Rogers. I can’t say I loved watching Mr. Rogers, though I was thrilled they did because he was so kind and the show was so calm. But when Mr. Rogers died, I was deeply affected and sad. Since then I have come to love reading things Mr. Rogers said, and always choke up whenever I read the commencement speech he delivered in 2001 at Marquette University. Here are the opening words:
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.