As soon as I saw the ornament in the gift shop, I knew I had to buy it. I hoped my 11 year old great niece would humor her 4 year old sister about Santa, and didn’t know where my 8 year old great niece would land.  This Kindness Ornament features daily video messages from a quite believable “Santa” via QR code inviting the listeners to do acts of kindness: give someone a hug, write someone a nice note.  I was totally enthralled when I scanned the QR code on the package and heard Santa explaining about the delightful ornament.  It felt like Christmas magic! It doesn’t matter the age.

Before I share this charming link, my disclaimer is that I don’t get any kickbacks from Santa or the ornament company.  Plus, it’s too late for this year anyhow, purposely.  BUT it’s not too late to be enchanted in the next few days by the same message from Santa that I heard if you CLICK HERE.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hannukah or Diwali, we can all use some Light and Kindness.  Certainly, the world needs it now.  When we feel helpless in the darkness, at least we can share our own Light through small acts of Kindness.  What might your inner Santa be calling on YOU to do today?

As if I wasn’t already enamored by this topic, here’s a picture of what was in the restroom of the restaurant where I had dinner with my granddaughter this week:

Thank you for your kindness in taking time to read my reflections.  Warm wishes to you for the holiday season to treat yourself and others with kindness now and in the coming year.

Give yourself the gift of inspiration this season with A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood movie. With so much incivility in society and in the workplace, Fred Rogers provides a muchneeded model of kindness. This drama has meaning and depth, eliciting both laughter and tears. It is based on the true story of Fred Rogers helping a jaded magazine writer overcome his skepticism and learn about kindness and forgiveness.  Don’t just take it from me; Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 95% positive rating.

A friend of mine initially thought she didn’t want to see it since she already saw the documentary and didn’t want to see anyone but Fred play Fred. But Tom Hanks did a masterful job once he mastered slowing down his fast-paced style to Rogers almost overly thoughtful and slow-paced style.  It is a chance to see how Fred Rogers was in real life with adults, including a behind the scene view of comedy and conflict on the studio set.  Plus there are some clever artistic elements thrown in.

As a bit of a Fred Rogers geek, I loved reading the articles and seeing the interviews leading up to the movie.  Here is a link to the original 1998 Esquire Magazine article written by Tom Junod, which is the inspiration of the story.  Significant parts of the article are reflected in the movie, including a scene where adults and children of all ages on a subway broke out into spontaneously singing It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

More interesting background is this University of Pittsburgh article about how Fred Rogers was influenced and mentored by child psychologist and Pitt faculty member, Margaret McFarland.  

Here is a link to Fred Rogers quotes from my last article about him: What Would Mister Rogers Do?

Being from Pittsburgh I have always been proud of and inspired by Fred Rogers. Though I was a few years too old to fully enjoy his show, I felt connected and cried when he died in 2003. When I think of Fred Rogers, I think of kindness. I loved the book, The World According to Mister Rogers, and was further inspired when I saw the documentary about him last month. If we could all embody that kindness maybe there wouldn’t need to be business etiquette or civility training.   Read on to be inspired by a brief selection of quotes by Fred Rogers.

I hope Fred Rogers continues to inspire us for many decades. So the next time you get impatient with a coworker or customer, are tempted to send an angry email or text, or don’t know what to say, ask yourself, “What Would Mister Rogers Do?”

If you missed Won’t You Be My Neighbor, you can see it on Netflix. And be on the look-out for the movie, You Are My Friend starring Tom Hanks, currently being filmed in Pittsburgh.