“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

Dear Reader:

Yesterday was First Responders’ Day and what a well-deserved recognition it was and is among our community, state, and regional American heroes! Last summer the bill to recognize first responders was voted into law…choosing October 28 as the day of recognition.

The cost to first responders’ lives comes at a high price.

Few of us normally give much thought to those who dedicate their lives to being on the front lines in the scene of an emergency.

We go about our daily activities secure in the knowledge that, if needed, they will be there ready to help, even at the risk of their own lives. During a crisis, these brave people become the most important people in the world to those in desperate need.

But did you know they suffer ten times the stress rate/PTSD of people in other occupations? 85% report symptoms associated with mental health issues, 34% are diagnosed with a mental health disorder and more than 90% are consistently exposed to daily traumatic events.

What kept coming back to me yesterday wasn’t anything to do with stats… but the famous quote from Mr. Rogers (about first responders) when he said:

“When I was a boy and I would see something scary in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words. I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers- so many caring people in the world.”

As an adult…I still seek comfort in these words and I do exactly as Mr. Rogers suggested…I look for the helpers…because I know they are the ‘good guys.’

When Tom Hanks was first approached to play the part of Mr. Rogers, he initially hesitated. He honestly admitted that as a little boy growing up he watched ” Rocky and Bullwinkle” …not Mr. Rogers. But just as he was about to “bail” on the project…he watched one 7 minute video segment from the popular children’s show that changed his mind.

It was a conversation between Mr. Rogers and Jeff Erlanger, a ten-year-old boy with quadriplegia. The interview ended with the two singing a song together.  (*In fact, Hanks later told one audience at a premiere in Toronto that he bawled his head off after watching the segment and immediately agreed to portray this amazing man.)

This Is the Mister Rogers Clip That Made Tom Hanks Take the Part


The movie is told from the perspective of a cynical reporter asked to interview Mr. Rogers which he begrudgingly does…not realizing the interview will change his life…an amazing “biography” about the relationship between Mr. Rogers and all who came into contact with him throughout all his life.


Rumors are spreading that Tom Hanks will be up for an academy award (his third) for his outstanding portrayal of Mr. Rogers in this performance… even the most cynical will leave the movie a better person than they entered. Take kleenex!

A couple of mantras that Mr. Rogers imparted to children over the years were the thoughts that “One day you will realize that you are okay…just the way you are.” (acceptance of ourselves and others as we are) and “You don’t have to be perfect to be good.”

So until tomorrow…”A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” comes out November 22….leading up to Thanksgiving weekend…This movie will make us thankful for men like Mr. Rogers who showed the world that love is more powerful than cynicism.

(*You will find me at the movies this Thanksgiving…because we  all need love more than ever.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Autumn surcies are everywhere….

The second photo on the right comes from Anne’s front steps…(two more medical tests and hopefully identification of Anne’s health problems will be revealed and then healed)






About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.