But the Esquire passage I found most poignant and revealing was this one: Mister Rogers' visit to a teenage boy severely afflicted with cerebral palsy and terrible anger. One of the boys' few consolations in life, Junod wrote, was watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood. 'At first, the boy was made very nervous by the thought that Mister Rogers was visiting him. He was so nervous, in fact, that when Mister Rogers did visit, he got mad at himself and began hating himself and hitting himself and his mother had to take him to another room and talk to him. Mister Rogers didn't leave, though. He wanted something from the boy and Mister Rogers never leaves when he wants something from somebody. He just waited patiently and when the boy came back, Mister Rogers talked to him and then he made his request. He said, 'I would like you to do something for me. Would you do something for me?' On his computer, the boy answered yes, of course, he would do anything for Mister Rogers, so then Mister Rogers said: I would like you to pray for me. Will you pray for me?' And now the boy didn't know how to respond. He was thunderstruck... because nobody had ever asked him for something like that, ever. The boy had always been prayed for. The boy had always been the object of prayer and now he was being asked to pray for Mister Rogers and although at first he didn't know how to do it, he said he would, he said he'd try and ever since then he keeps Mister Rogers in his prayers and doesn't talk about wanting to die anymore, because he figures if Mister Rogers likes him, that must mean that God likes him, too.As for Mister Rogers himself... he doesn't look at the story the same way the boy did or I did. In fact, when Mister Rogers first told me the story, I complimented him on being smart - for knowing that asking the boy for his prayers would make the boy feel better about himself - and Mister Rogers responded by looking at me first with puzzlement and then with surprise. 'Oh heavens no, Tom! I didn't ask him for his prayers for him; I asked for me. I asked him because I think that anyone who has gone through challenges like that must be very close to God. I asked him because I wanted his intercession.'m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers
Tim Madigan
Who is Mr. Jasper?Rosa turned aside her head in answering: Eddy's uncle and my music-master.You do not love him?Ugh! She put her hands up to her face and shook with fear or horror.You know that he loves you?O, don't! cried Rosa, dropping on her knees and clinging to her new resource. Don't tell me of it! He terrifies me. He haunts my thoughts, like a dreadful ghost. I feel that I am never safe from him. I feel as if he could pass in through the wall when he is spoken of. She actually did look round, as if she dreaded to see him standing in the shadow behind her.Try to tell me more about it, darling.Yes, I will, I will. Because you are so strong. But hold me the while and stay with me afterwards.My child! You speak as if he had threatened you in some dark way.He has never spoken to me about - that. Never.What has he done?He has made a slave of me with his looks. He has forced me to understand him, without his saying a word; and he has forced me to keep silence, without his uttering a threat. When I play, he never moves his eyes from my hands. When I sing, he never moves his eyes from my lips. When he corrects me and strikes a note, or a chord, or plays a passage, he himself is in the sounds, whispering that he pursues me as a lover and commanding me to keep his secret. I avoid his eyes, but he forces me to see them without looking at them. Even when a glaze comes over them (which is sometimes the case) and he seems to wander away into a frightful sort of dream in which he threatens most, he obliges me to know it and to know that he is sitting close at my side, more terrible to me than ever.What is this imagined threatening, pretty one? What is threatened?I don't know. I have never even dared to think or wonder what it is.And was this all, to-night?This was all; except that to-night when he watched my lips so closely as I was singing, besides feeling terrified I felt ashamed and passionately hurt. It was as if he kissed me and I couldn't bear it, but cried out. You must never breathe this to any one. Eddy is devoted to him. But you said to-night that you would not be afraid of him, under any circumstances and that gives me - who am so much afraid of him - courage to tell only you. Hold me! Stay with me! I am too frightened to be left by myself.
Charles Dickens