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Have you been celebrating the 50 years of Mr. Rogers? If you follow the stories, you know there are many ways to watch, learn and celebrate. For example, check out the Won’t You Be My Neighbor? film, the new movie (coming soon) A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and a United States Postal Service Forever Stamp.  To celebrate World Kindness Day last week, not only did adults wear their cardigans but the newborn babies at Pittsburgh’s West Penn Hospital were also dressed in miniature red cardigans to recognize the kindness messages of Mr. Rogers.

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The highlights and celebrations remind us of the intentional work and messages by Fred Rogers that encourage all of us, young and old, to:

  • feel good about ourselves
  • understand our feelings
  • build relationships with others
  • wonder and learn
  • be ready for new experiences
  • learn how to talk about difficult subjects

The work of Mr. Rogers is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. How do you define your neighbors? Another organization that is using the theme of neighbors is the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS). Since 2014, nearly half a million people have committed to “Dining In” on December 3rd, Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS) Day. Each year AAFCS promotes a theme, shares information and tallies the number of people who commit to eating a meal together. With the 2019 theme, Neighbors as Family, AAFCS notes that neighbors come in many different forms. We can be neighbors with others from where we live (urban, suburban, city, rural/farms) to types of housing (Single dwelling homes, Homeowners group, Subdivision, Condo/high rise, Apartment building) to types of communities (Retirement community, College dorm, College sorority/fraternity house, Campus neighbors) and to places where we spend time with others (Office building, Office staff, Office neighbors, Gym). In addition to their list, other definitions of neighbors as family can be sports teams, those we worship with, cultural clubs, 4-H clubs, extended family, and friends as family.

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I have a child in elementary school, so some of our neighbors as family include families in scouts and dance club. This year our scout meeting happens to land during the week of December 3rd so we’re meeting, learning and eating together as neighbors and family that evening at school. Are you interested in being part of an online neighbors as family this year? Please join me and others in signing up at the AAFCS webpage, hosting a simple meal, and posting your photos for Dine In Day 2019. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a formal, elaborate meal! The important thing is to take some time, sit down together, enjoy some food and camaraderie.

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I not sure that the AAFCS 2019 theme for Dine In Day, December 3rd was planned to coincide with celebrations of Mr. Roger’s 50 years but I’d like to think that Mr. Rogers would approve of the theme Neighbors as Family.

Sources:

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, movie trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VLEPhfEN2M

Cheers to 50 Years, PBS https://www.pbs.org/parents/rogers

Dine In With Us, FCS Day, American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences,  https://www.aafcs.org/fcsday/home

For World Kindness Day, a hospital dressed newborns in red cardigans like Mister Rogers, Joshua Bote, USA Today

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/parenting/2019/11/13/world-kindness-day-newborns-red-cardigans-honor-mister-rogers/4181101002/

Mister Rogers Forever Stamp, USPS https://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2018/pr18_022.htm

Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, https://www.misterrogers.org/the-messages/

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? PBS http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/wont-you-be-my-neighbor/

Author: Patrice Powers-Barker, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Lucas County

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County.

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