Listen to Fred Rogers’ Mother

Fred Rogers, the uncanonized saint of American television, said it best: When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’

(via Making Light)

That is, in essence, what these tikkun olam posts are for: they’re a place to find helpers, to remind yourself that they’re out there, and even to motivate yourself to be one of them. So that when you’re like ickle Fred Rogers, the world might seem a little less scary.

So share your news of how you’re helping, be it big or small. Are you doing volunteer work, either through a formal organization or an ad hoc arrangement with someone you know? Are you changing your own life so that you’ll be a better citizen of your town, state, country, planet? Have you made a donation to some good cause? Don’t feel like everything you mention has to be new; continuing efforts are just as good as one-off or additional things. And remember that everything is fair game, even if it’s not very big. Sometimes the little gestures mean the most.

One Response to “Listen to Fred Rogers’ Mother”

  1. swantower

    I’m continuing to call my elected officials about various issues. It gets easier the more I do it, in terms of it not seeming like this big intimidating thing. I’ve also tried to reach beyond my own officials a bit; I know they take feedback from non-constituents much less seriously, but I called to encourage the governor of North Dakota to support the protestors at Standing Rock, and I asked my mother (who lives in Texas) to call her representatives about the ACA. And I’m signing lots of petitions, on the theory that it can’t hurt.

    I missed the training for literacy tutoring due to a scheduling conflict, but I went to an “open mosque” event nearby, a thing they do on the second Friday of every month where someone delivers a talk on a particular subject and then there’s a Q&A on anything Islam-related people want to ask about. (The questions ranged from things like “how do you handle the five daily prayers if your job isn’t one that allows you to pause as needed, e.g. on an assembly line” to “why don’t Muslims condemn terror attacks when they happen” — glad to see that not only the speaker but also the audience leapt to deal with that.) The subject for January was about being a good neighbor; apparently there’s a line somewhere in the scripture to the effect that if you pray all the prayers and you fast and you do all the religious things but you’re a bad neighbor, you’re being a bad Muslim. That idea has been a bit topical for me lately because I’ve also had several friends who went through surgery in January, so I’ve been doing much more of the neighborly thing of helping out by running errands for them and so forth.

    I’ve also been to two different protests — the first I can recall ever attending. One was the ANSWER Coalition’s march on Inauguration Day; the other was the protest at SFO airport against this Muslim ban. It’s really encouraging, being there and seeing hundreds of other people going to the effort of rallying for these causes.

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