All of Us Have Special Ones Who Have Loved Us Into Being



“And so, we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

                                                                                                                                                                                               1 John 4:16



If ever there was someone who personified God’s love in our generation it was Fred Rogers.  In 1963, Rogers was ordained a minister by the Pittsburgh Presbytery.  Rather than be a minister of a church, his ministry was to reach out to children and their families through his show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran for 33 years (1968-2001), spanning two generations.

Every episode was Mister Rogers from beginning to end.  He wrote the scripts, hosted the show, composed the songs, played piano and sang for most of the songs, created all the characters (puppets and people), and played most of the major puppet roles.  All of his shows were instilled with his “three ways for ultimate success: “The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind.  The third way is to be kind.”

In 1997, Mister Rogers received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Emmy Awards.  In his gentle and humble way, his 90 second speech was one of the most moving and powerful of any at an awards ceremony:

Thank you. Thank you. Oh, it’s a beautiful night in this neighborhood. So many people have helped me to come to this night. Some of you are here, some are far away, some are even in Heaven.

All of us have special ones who have loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are. Those who have cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life. Ten seconds of silence. I’ll watch the time.

[10 Sec Pause]

Whomever you’ve been thinking about, how pleased they must be to know the difference you feel they’ve made.  You know they’re the kind of people television does well to offer our world.  Special thanks to my family and friends, and to my co-workers in Public Broadcasting, Family Communications, and this Academy for encouraging me, allowing me, all these years to be your neighbor. May God be with you. Thank you very much.

Please take the three plus minutes to watch Mister Rodgers’s speech.  Pay close attention to the audience and their reaction.  It starts with the regular whooping and hollering of an awards ceremony.  During his pause, the audience falls into a pensive silence, many in tears.

Who has loved you into being?  I have been blessed with many, starting with my mom and dad.  My fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Dalton, who was also my sixth-grade teacher, lit the fires of curiosity to “go and find out.”  In my senior year in high school, God sent Rev John who started me on my spiritual path.  The next year at the college – on the day I arrived – I met my “souljourner” Dan and ever since we have explored God, creation, and the mysteries of the universe together.  

Years later I met my wife Barb, my walking companion.  I gave her the nickname “Sam,” after the character Sam Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings.  Like Sam, she has been fiercely loyal and always challenges me to be the best I can be.

While I was writing this devotional, my son Jack called.  He had just returned from the University of Michigan hospital to report on his out-patient surgery.  All had gone blessedly well.  I told him about Mister Rogers’ speech and said, “I thank God for the opportunity to love you into being and, while I was doing this for you, you were doing this for me too.”


Prayer:  Eternal God, thank you for loving us into being at the beginning and sending those who brought your love into our lives.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Joe Bulko