Ron and I went to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood when it came to Tucumcari a few weeks ago. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s well worth the $3 to watch it on Amazon Prime while you’re practicing social distancing.
As the coronavirus scare unfolds, I find myself wondering how Fred Rogers would handle it. What would a coronavirus-themed episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood look like? What would Mr. Rogers tell his young viewers? What would Lady Aberlin say to reassure Daniel the Striped Tiger? How would King Friday address his subjects in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe?
In an interview many years ago, Mr. Rogers mentioned that when he was a child, and something sad or frightening happened, his mother would say, “Look for the helpers.”
I don’t have Mr. Rogers’ gentle, soft-spoken demeanor or a set of puppets I can use to reassure you. But I do have some training in looking for the good in every situation, and while I’m a bit rusty at it, I still remember how to look for the helpers.
With that in mind, here are some hopeful signs amid the deluge of bad news:
- The Washington Post reports that pet adoptions are up, along with the number of volunteers willing to foster homeless animals, as people find themselves at home, with time on their hands and a need for companionship.
- The Christian Science Monitor reports that grocery-store clerks, whose work often goes unappreciated, are being treated as emergency responders in several states as the value of their work becomes apparent.
- On a related note, here in New Mexico, during her most recent press conference, our governor made a point of thanking journalists for putting themselves at risk to provide the public with information that may help keep them safe. It’s not unusual for journalists to do that, but it’s unusual — and heartening — to hear an elected official acknowledge it.
- The Monitor also noted in a recent editorial that charitable giving is up.
- While scientists are still working on treatments and vaccines, the Post reports that it appears they’ve found a faster way to test patients for coronavirus, which should help leaders, medical workers, and individuals make better decisions.
There are plenty of helpers out there. Keep looking for them.