Originally published in the WFCF Newsletter, Vol. 3, No. 2, August 2007
The late Fred Rogers, Mister Rogers, to generations of children and their parents, had a simple, yet deeply profound way of teaching about life’s most important and vital lessons. On his classic television show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he commonly spoke and taught about respect, grace, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, compassion and love. His writing and public speaking reflect a special concern for those children who found themselves at life’s margins – those who are lonely, afraid, abused, abandoned, different, heartbroken and impoverished of spirit. He had a singular concern for those children, in particular, wanting them to understand and believe that they were important no matter what their circumstances.
In the book, Life’s Journeys According to Mister Rogers: Things to Remember Along the Way, Fred Rogers writes this:
There was a story going around about the Special Olympics. For the hundred-yard dash, there were nine contestants, all of them so-called physically or mentally disabled. All nine of them assembled at the starting line and, at the sound of the gun, they took off. But one little boy didn’t get very far. He stumbled and fell and hurt his knee and began to cry.
The other eight children heard the boy crying. They slowed down, turned around, and ran back to him – every one of them ran back to him. The little boy got up, and he and the rest of the runners linked their arms together and joyfully walked to the finish line.
They all finished the race at the same time. And when they did, everyone in the stadium stood up and clapped and whistled and cheered for a long time. And you know why? Because deep down we know that what matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What really matters is helping others win, too, even if it means slowing down and changing our course now and then.
What really matters is helping others win.
That is the essence of our mission at the World Forgotten Children Foundation. It is our goal and our task to stop ourselves and reach out to those who have stumbled, have fallen and are in grave danger of losing the race for their lives.
There are too many children in this world who have been left behind, tragically, cruelly and even intentionally at times. But we believe they have a right to be picked up and helped to get in the race once again or even for the very first time. Wherever we can be a source of hope and help to a child who has been abandoned or disabled or impoverished or given up upon, we try to send a message that they are worthy of grace and love, compassion and commitment, concern and care.
It is a privilege to be part of the solution for a better world, one child, no longer forgotten, at a time.