Pause and Listen…Then Pause Some More

Dear Reader:

Yesterday I had a wonderful surprise visit from the best Ho Ho Ho personality ….Jo Jo Jo! As I pulling into my driveway I saw a car was already parked there and then I saw Jo starting down the porch steps. I beeped, stopped, and quickly parked. One never wants to miss a visit from Jo…her quick wit is legendary!

She came bearing a gift ….the cutest ornament! “Sammy the cardinal” inside a decorated glass ball with a candle that stays lit with a battery package attached…just beautiful. Jo saw it and she said she knew I had to have it…the last “Sammy” tree ornament! It was meant to be!

I showed Jo my tree with just the lights and Ruthie the angel…”Yours will be the very first ornament on the tree”...and it is!

I had just gotten back from the movies….“It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood“…I loved the movie. K.C. and I met there and walked away excitedly talking about the quotes and thoughts from the film that moved each of us.

I will have to say that at first…the movie catches one a little off-guard…it takes a few minutes to figure out the initial scenes and how they connect to the movie…but then from that point on…the deceiving simplicity of a children’s show grows into adult truths that demand new ways of thinking…which Mr. Rogers quietly dispenses in slow snippets throughout the rest of the show.

Tom Hanks said he watched endless hours of the children interacting with Mr. Rogers on his show… while working on mimicking  his voice, gestures, and his deliberate study in pauses.

The plot intentionally moves slowly…and sadly for some spectators maybe too slowly…but Tom Hanks felt that a fast plot would be against everything Mr. Rogers encompassed…compassion, listening, studying facial expressions and most importantly listening… as if that child was the only child on earth.

After watching many programs in preparation for the role,  Hanks noticed an important characteristic of Mr. Rogers- patience. Hanks said that sometimes while waiting on a child (live on Mr. Roger’s show ) to answer a question that Mr. Rogers had slowly and kindly asked.. the response time would be quite lengthy…to the point of becoming unsettling and embarrassingly awkward.

Yet Mr. Rogers never blinked.  He understood children so well. He understood that most adults never give children the amount of response time needed to deliberate and concentrate on an answer to a question.

In daily life Mr. Rogers would observe harried mothers yelling at their child to tell them what he/she wanted for dinner. When the mother wouldn’t get a response in 3 seconds…she would yell that she then was picking…call out something off the top of her head for dinner…and then couldn’t understand why the child was upset and felt completely left out of the decision-making opportunity. Children like to think about a question before responding…yet too many adults overlook this basic need in order to beat the daily clock at work or at home. word of the year this year and every year. After seeing this movie…I realize just how important it is to give someone (you are talking to) your complete attention with no interruptions. Fred Rogers made every child feel like he/she was the most precious person in the world…and in his eyes …they were! Children don’t easily forget adults like that…

At the end of the movie…as Mr. Rogers is playing the piano some more expressions of his are quietly quoted…I noticed no one got up out of their seats…like they were mesmerized and just waiting for another gold nugget of wisdom to appear.

In this fast world we live in today…we want instant gratification constantly and quickly…like “prime” amazon orders delivered in two days,  “dubious” knowledge at our finger tips, cars delivered to our homes, as well as, furniture, take-out or even groceries…Mr. Rogers tells us to stop our busyness and listen to those around us.

Give people a chance to share their opinions before enforcing our ideas on them.

So until tomorrow…It is time to deliberately slow down and form deeper relationships with our families and friends. Give ‘time’ and ‘listening’ gifts this Christmas…the gift that will keep on giving…and always be remembered.

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

Purple pansies…a favorite of mine!




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.”
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4 Responses to Pause and Listen…Then Pause Some More

  1. bcparkison says:

    Your new Sammy is lovely addition to the tree and the purple pansy is beautiful. Now couldn’t we all use a Mr. Rogers in our neighborhoods?…..maybe even bee one ourselves.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      You nailed it on the head…the idea is that if all of us would give our neighbors…men, women, children, even pets…our listening time…we would be giving a gift not soon forgotten…the best things in life are free.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachel Edwards says:

    Love your new ornament…and your happy room looks beautiful…can’t wait to see the movie. You would enjoy the movies about the Midway and Ford and Ferrari. Love historical fiction even in movies…


    • Becky Dingle says:

      There are so many good movies out now…do want to see both of those…glad you love historical movies…we will have to see some together.


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