I don’t want to be like Mr. Rogers…

This past weekend Greg and I went to see the new Mr. Rogers movie ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’. We checked out the new Sperry’s theater downtown Holland (loved it) and thoroughly enjoyed our little day date.

I’ll be honest, I left the movie with questions and wishing it ended differently. I liked it, definitely liked it, but can’t say it is on my ‘must-watch-again-list’. I think I had higher expectations for it after watching the Mr. Rogers documentary, ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ a year ago. Greg and I had rented it from Redbox and it was phenomenal. I’d definitely encourage you to check the documentary out. Even though this new movie left me wanting more, I will say, Tom Hanks did a stellar job playing Mr. Rogers. By the end of the movie you forgot it wasn’t Mr. Rogers himself.

Critic reviews aside, the one thing overwhelmingly evident in both movies was the kindness that Mr. Rogers emanated. The deep care he had for each person he met. The sincere way he sought out the lost. This quote of his has stuck with me:

As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has or ever will. We have something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.

Along with this quote Mr. Rogers said something along the lines of ‘whoever I’m with or speaking to, that person is the most important thing to me at that moment.’ As a teacher this struck me. How often do I brush off my students, or act like I’m listening (when I’m really not), or try to juggle three things at once while giving my divided attention to those around me.

As I was laying in bed that night, I was thinking about the movie and Mr. Rogers and the way he made everyone around him feel so safe, calm, and loved. As I compared him to myself (specifically thinking of myself in the classroom) I realized I’m far from being like him. I started to pray, as I often do before falling asleep, and began my prayer saying, ‘God, help me to be more like Mr. Rogers…’ and as soon as I prayed those words, I shuttered. What in the world was I thinking?! How crazy did that just sound? Help me be like Mr. Rogers?!

I don’t want to be like Mr. Rogers. I want to be like Jesus.

It was a humbling moment. Mr. Rogers was fresh in my mind. Watching him ‘act’ and love others inspired me to do the same. I wanted to be like him because I spent time seeing what he was like. I realized it was easier for me to relate to Mr. Rogers because I spent time ‘with him’ that day. How much different would my prayer have been had I spent time in God’s Word that day? If I had spent time with God that day?

If I want to be more like Jesus, I need to spend time with Him. I need to study His character. I need to observe what He was like in action. I need to fill my mind with thoughts of HIM. Jesus was patient. Jesus sought out the lost. Jesus loved unconditionally. Jesus made people feel safe. Jesus gave hope.

I want to be like Jesus, and in order to do so, I need to know what Jesus is like.

Who do you pray to be like? Who do you spend your time with? If you want to be more like Jesus, are your daily actions aligning with that desire? I fail most days…but it’s never too late to start and start again. Dive into His Word. Spend time in prayer. Seek His face.

Don’t pray to be like Mr. Rogers, pray to be like Jesus.