Each one helps his neighbor and says to his brother, “Be strong!” (Isaiah 41:6 NASB)
Our son Isaac has been watching some TV lately. We have screens on from time to time, and we noticed several months ago that he really liked the Jeopardy theme song. Since Dan and I are nerdy about trivia, we’re totally encouraging Isaac to keep on loving that show! But in finding shows that are geared more toward him, we’ve decided to start with programming that we’re familiar with.
Daniel and I never watched Thomas and Friends growing up, but I’ve worked with children long enough to know that the stories are short (perfect for toddler attention spans) and the plot usually centers around learning how to be a good friend. It’s currently Isaac’s favorite show, and he asks to watch it as soon as we get home from daycare every evening.
Thomas and all of the other engines end up getting into a lot of strange little pickles, but they always try to find ways to work together so that Sir Topham Hatt can manage the station lines easily. Gordon, Percy, Toby, and so many others may have their misunderstandings and moments of selfishness, but they always come to their senses and realize just how much they need each other.
Sometimes I turn on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood instead, and while Isaac protests a bit, he doesn’t complain after Mister Rogers opens the door and starts to sing, “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood…”! I love that one, too, because Mister Rogers focused so much on teaching people to get along, like each other, and like themselves. More than that, not everyone looks the same, and sometimes Mister Rogers mentions that.
In one episode, Mister Rogers shows a picture board of some of his favorite friends, and I love that Officer Clemmons, a black man, is on it. Mister Rogers and Officer Clemmons made TV history when they soaked their feet in the same wading pool on a hot day. That one kind act showed people that while we may look different on the outside, we all have the same feelings and desires on the inside.
Last Sunday our service focused on World Vision and their commitment to providing clean water in parts of the world that don’t have it. From our community, 27 people participated in the 6K, and many people carried 20-liter jerry cans filled with water for some or all of it. In many parts of the world, carrying water can be dangerous, especially if done alone. But when communities come together, when people partner up, they can be strong! They begin to help their neighbors, looking out for one another. I wasn’t able to participate in the 6K since I recently dislocated my kneecap, but I was so pleased to find out that we are sponsoring a new (to us) child via World Vision! We already sponsor a girl in Cambodia, so it’s nice to jump continents and head to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
We’re learning to do what we can to impact our world for Jesus. It doesn’t feel like enough most times, but when we watch Mister Rogers or Thomas with Isaac, we’re getting a gentle reminder to ourselves to encourage one another. Be strong! Whether we’re helping people across the world, or just across the street, it’s important that we be good neighbors.