Spoiler alert: If you haven’t seen the movie, stop reading. Go see it and then read this blog.
I didn’t expect what I found in the movie, “A beautiful day in the neighborhood.”
I expected more of a children’s movie, that it was about how he spoke about difficult subjects to children. Well, it was a little of that.
But it was more about how Mr. Rogers impacted people. In particular the film focuses on a particular journalist, Lloyd Vogel (really about Tom Junod) who had a reputation for unpacking famous people’s lives and exposing their weakness, their secret sins, and their hierocracy. He wanted to expose them for who they ‘really’ are.
But Fred Rogers changed Lloyd Vogel’s life.
The question is how?
Fred Rogers had the ability to get to the heart of people. He did it by lovingly and non-judgmentally asking questions. In the movie, Lloyd Vogel had anger and bitterness toward his father. He had it for years. And it was affecting his relationships with people.
But, Fred Rogers got Lloyd Vogel to open up his heart. And in the process, to transform his life.
For me the most poignant scene in the movie was when Fred Rogers and Lloyd Vogel were eating, sitting across from each other in a booth. Lloyd says (my paraphrase) , “they say you love people like me.” “What kind of people is that?” Mr. Rogers asks. “Broken people.” Lloyd responds.
I love this, because I have been broken. In fact, I’ve been broken so many times that even my broken places have been broken. I love this because most of us have been broken at some point. I love this because it’s real, genuine, and reveals what Servant Leaders do.
Mr. Rogers was a Servant Leader. Everyone he was with was the most important person in the room at that moment. Servant Leaders are like that; focusing on others. What brings them joy is the ability to be available to others, to hear their story, and to be an agent of transformation.
We all could learn from Mr. Rogers on how to be a Servant Leader.