I have been spending a lot of time this summer doing two things, one professional and one personal. Professionally I have undertaken a substantial overhaul of my USU courses (objectives, assignments). Personally, I have spent a lot of time doing “Daddy School” with my young children. Daddy school this summer included lessons in Latin, reading and discussing Aesop’s Fables, the Bible, and the St Joseph’s childrens catechism. In addition, it was the “Ancient Egypt” summer for my oldest.
But what I realized is how close these two activities turned out to be. In both cases I have similar aims – inculcate wonder, encourage clear and creative thinking, formation of appetites, etc. Both exercises, then, have a lot to do with the ends of education and human flourishing.
Along the way I have watched a bit of television with my kids. Their guilty pleasure (and mine, if I am honest) is Phineas and Ferb. But we also watched some old Mr Rogers Neighborhood episodes. I grew up with Mr Rogers, as did so many who were young kids in the 70s through the 90s. I can’t imagine that anyone has anything other than fond feelings for the program and the man. Mr Rogers really was wonderful. He gave kids a simple and persistent lesson in the joys of learning, imagination, and self-discovery. His teaching was a model of humanized education too, in large part because of how he models an incredible presence with the kids he interacts with.
Eventually I stumbled on some PBS Digital Studios remixes of Mr Rogers. There is real wisdom for all ages in Mr Rogers Neighborhood, I think. In these videos, some of that wisdom is paired with catchy beats. Worth 6 minutes of your time to listen to them both.