Welcome back to Part 2 of Fred Roger’s Birthday Celebration. The idea for this interview came about after a sermon series given by Reverend Byron Brought about It’s Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. The Simple Faith of Fred Rogers a complimentary discussion to the sermon series was held at Bel Air United Methodist Church also. That’s where I met Fred Rogers Scholar, Sydney Schoff.
Part II of our interview continues:
Sue: Sydney, how can we do better as American people to display the values Fred Rogers believed in and represented?
Sydney: This is such a great and important question. I think the best way to start working toward displaying the values Fred believed in would be by looking at some of his own words and two of my favorite quotes from him. The first is “The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.” We need to enter every interaction understanding that each person has inherent value given at birth. The second is “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.” I believe that the only way we can truly “do better” as an American people, in all meanings of that phrase, is through love. Love for our neighbors, our world, and ourselves.
Sue: Any advice for upcoming students who are interested in a similar course of study?
Sydney: Be passionate, be open to change, and love others. I found that I was able to get the most out of my degree, my Scholars program, my work study position, and my extra-curricular activities when I devoted my time to what mattered most to the core of my being. When how I spent my time was focused there, I was able to cope with changes in career interests, friends, class schedules, and more a lot easier. I also recognized that I would not be in my current position without the people that had, as Fred would say, loved me into being, so I can only hope that I can do a fraction of that for someone else.
Sue: As you go forward in your professional life, what kind of work do you see beneficial in helping you fulfill your mission of keeping the legacy of Fred Rogers alive?
Sydney: This is a very big question that I am trying daily to figure out. Before graduating in May of 2019, I thought I had a very clear 10-year plan of what I wanted my professional life to look like. Now, after going through a job search and being employed for a few months, I have no idea. So, for now, I am trying to focus on the things I mentioned above: going into each interaction I have understanding that person’s inherent worth and actively trying to love.
Sue: Lastly, for those who would like to know more about the legacy of Fred Rogers, can you provide us with a few resources, where people can learn more?
Sydney: More information about the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media, the Fred Rogers Scholars program, and the children’s studies minor at Saint Vincent can be found at https://www.fredrogerscenter.org/.
I’m a little biased, but a great way to see the behind-the-scenes of one of the biggest Fred Rogers Scholar events of the year, a week-long celebration of Fred’s life and legacy during the week of his birthday called “Fred Forever,” is a documentary myself and fellow Scholar Lilly McCormick made called “Wonderful, Simple, and Deep: The Making of Fred Forever”. It can be found on YouTube here.
For those who would like a more in-depth look at the life and work of Fred Rogers, I would strongly encourage the viewing of the 2018 documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” There are also several great books such as “The Good Neighbor” by Maxwell King and “The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers” by Amy Hollingsworth.
Sue: Sydney, it has been a pleasure to meet you and I appreciate your taking time out of your busy day to answer these questions for the benefit of our readers at SowtheHeart.com. Thanks for being a good neighbor and sharing your heart with others for a stronger, more caring American ideal to strive for.
See again soon on SowtheHeart.com. Come on back to my neighborhood in the blogosphere to see our next post in a few days time.
Find the helpers, and always praise them for their graciousness! ~ SowtheHeart.com