And that's important.
Remember him singing? If you heard him singing his songs (one to say hello, one to say goodbye, every show, like clockwork), you can probably hear it in your head.
...was he a great singer?
No, they would not.
Puppets! Mr. Rogers was famous for his puppets. Oh, he loved puppets. He treated them with such care. It was a craft he worked at his whole life.
Was he good at it, though? Wide repertoire of voices? Make the puppets alive?
And as I said upthread: this matters. It matters a lot.
Mr. Rogers showed us that you don't have to be a great singer to sing. You don't have to be Jim Henson to play with puppets, to entertain people.
Do you remember ever hearing Mr. Rogers talk about anger?
"Sometimes," he'd say, "sometimes, I get so angry."
You know he's telling the truth, right? He didn't lie to kids.
But he was a man, take him for all in all. You know he got mad at petty things.
That is, to the audience.
That is, to you.
I am going to tell you two things, though.
One, if you could meet the man and you talked to him long enough, you'd probably find that maybe you and he disagree about 90% of everything.
Whatever your answers are, Fred Rogers would probably think it's garbage. A waste of time. Disrespectful. Hurtful.
He wouldn't hate you. He wouldn't argue with you about watching it. But he'd hate it.
Mr. Rogers didn't like tricks.
I suspect Mr. Rogers didn't actually have a very high opinion of some of Jim Henson's choices.
He made a choice about who he was, and "not having a high opinion of his choices" doesn't mean he didn't like him, or respect his talents.
(Not like, the worst of it.)
So do I think Mr. Rogers was being two-faced? No, I think he was being himself. Polite and respectful and friendly, looking for the good in people and focusing on it.
Mr. Rogers lived his life by rules.
If you learned nothing else from Mr. Roger's life and example and ministry, you should know that you can like him just the way he is.
Well. People who knew him and researched him can tell you there's not much room for skeletons in his closet...
What we can do is: see him as human. Take him down off the pedestal, off the high shelf.