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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v16n15)
Right in my Own Backyard - Are you a neighborhood hero? - by Brandt Carter
posted: Jul. 26, 2019

Right in my Own Backyard header

Are you a neighborhood hero?
After reading an article in IBJ by Jennifer Ping titled, In the words of Fred Rogers, won't you be my neighbor?, I was inspired to reflect on the man that so many children grew up watching. Now gone, Fred Rogers was a television personality, musician, puppeteer, writer, producer, and Presbyterian minister. Do you remember he was the creator, composer, producer, writer, and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood?
His life was dedicated to a simple message to love and accept your neighbor. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 40 honorary degrees, and a Peabody Award. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame and was recognized in two congressional resolutions. He was ranked number 35 of the TV Guide's Fifty Greatest TV Stars of All Time. The Smithsonian Institution displays one of his trademark sweaters as a "Treasure of American History".
Is has been more than a decade since Fred Rogers died-2003. To create neighbors in Broad Ripple, Meridian Kessler, SoBro, Glendale, and Warfleigh, we again need to hear his message loud and strong in this decade. Here are some Fred Rogers quotes you might like to share in your neighborhood and with you family:
"All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we're giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That's one of the things that connects us as neighbors-in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.
"The underlying message of the Neighborhood is that if somebody cares about you, it's possible that you'll care about others. 'You are special, and so is your neighbor' - that part is essential: that you're not the only special person in the world. The person you happen to be with at the moment is loved, too.
"When we look for what's best in the person we happen to be with at the moment, we're doing what God does, so in appreciating our neighbor, we're participating in something truly sacred.
"The more we can be in a relationship with those who might seem strange to us, the more we can feel like we're neighbors and all members of the human family."
We can learn so much from Mr. Rogers still. We don't have to earn all kinds of awards and honors to influence neighborliness and good citizenship.
So, you ask, what do I need to do?:
  • Talk to your neighbors. Learn their names.
  • Watch out for your neighborhood as if it is your own property. "It's not my job" should not be in your vocabulary. In reality, we are connected.
  • Be kind. Check on a neighbor often.
  • Share your bounty whether it is time, garden produce, or talent.
  • Serve a neighbor. Don't hesitate to help someone start their car, mow their lawn if the mower is broken, shovel the snow, or pick up their newspaper and put it on their porch.
  • Stand up for your neighborhood. Protect it by telling people who don't share the same values what your neighborhood practices. That's what Fred did.
  • Teach good neighborhood manners to the younger generation, like don't take things that are not yours, which even includes flowers, or, don't walk on people's property.
  • Practice respect for all the people and property on your block.
  • Participate in your neighborhood association. This not only helps solve problems respectfully but is also builds neighborhood pride.
There are so many acts we can do to make Broad Ripple a shining neighborhood-residents, and business. It is up to each of us to engage and act. In the words of Fred Rogers, "We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say 'It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.' Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes."

Brandt Carter, artist, herbalist, and naturalist, owns Backyard Birds at 2374 E. 54th Street. Visit her web site Email your bird questions to
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Brought to you by: Broad Ripple collector pins
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