Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's a Beautiful Day...Isn't It?

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood...

So begins every episode of iconic children's program Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. I used to use this piece in a class I taught about the power of music. "Music can make you see things in your head," I'd tell the students. They would deny it. Then I'd play some of this. Eyes would light up.

"He's getting his sweater!" "He's putting on his sneakers!" They got it.

It's a neighborly day in this beauty wood...

The children in the RECC program where I teach have been learning about neighborhoods. When I entered one classroom the teacher, who follows my comings and goings on Facebook, said to the class, "Ms. Julia loves her neighborhood!"

I think I must have glowed. If other people can see how much I care about Oakland Mills, I must be doing something right.

I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

Now, actually living in relationship with one's neighbors is a more difficult thing. It's messier than a simple "Like" or "Follow". It has that potentially awkward quality that a blog post does not. There may be disagreement, or conflict. That's harder for me.

What would Mr. Rogers do, I wonder. Certainly there is conflict, even in the Land of Make Believe. He includes many tastes of these realities as his characters experience fear, uncertainty, neighbors who are imperious, stubborn, even a little mean-spirited. Somehow they always make it through.

So, let's make the most of this beautiful day.

Like the children I teach, I am still learning about neighborhoods. More than that, I am learning how to love my neighbors.

"Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now." --Fred Rogers

Since we're together we might as well say:

Would you be mine?

Could you be mine?

Won't you be my neighbor?



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