I am convinced it is no coincidence that Mister Rogers--the sweater-wearing, singing, owner of a secret puppet wonderland--thrived on television during the late 60s and 70s. At a time when divorce rates were skyrocketing and children were reeling, who better to spend a little time with each day than someone who told you that you were special, that you were listened to, that your feelings mattered.
I was reminded of this recently as I watched the documentary "Mister Rogers and Me" on PBS. In one of the opening bits, Wagner tells the story he recounts in his blog here, about Mister Rogers asking about his parents' divorce. The story is just as any kid who grew up watching the show would imagine: Mister Rogers talking about something no one else wants to talk about with kids, giving the kid permission to express what he's feeling, and then letting it all end with a comforting and mood-changing song that says 'even in the midst of sad things, at least we still have each other.'
No wonder we all loved him.