Fred and Freddie

There are many ways to say I love you.
There are many ways to say I care about you.
Many ways, many ways,
Many ways to say I love you.

-Fred Rogers
Lyrics to “There are many ways to say I love you”

When I get older
I will be there at your side to remind you
How I still love you,
I still love you…love of my life

-Freddie Mercury
Lyrics to “Love of my life”

Fred Rogers. Freddie Mercury. Over the weekend I saw movies on back-to-back days that depicted their lives and livelihood. Fred Rogers, of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood fame, and Freddie Mercury, the late lead singer for the band Queen, lead exceedingly different lives. One was one of the most flamboyant individuals of his time. The other couldn’t have been further from such a description. He was exceedingly, almost painfully sweet and “normal.” One lived a wild, off-the-charts life full of partying and play. The other lived a very clean, pious life and had even planned to pursue seminary at one time.


As I reflected about these two storied individuals, I realized that although they seemed very different, our two “Freds” had much in common:

·           They each had a strong passion for what they believed in

·           They stood up to those in power for what they believed in

·           They were both songwriters and singers

·           They were willing to accept criticism about their work because they felt that what they did was so important

·           Love was a driving motivation for them

·           They were both artists in many ways

·           They were often misunderstood

·           They believed in love and family

In a time where an overriding emphasis seems to be placed on how much we disagree or how different we are, perhaps we can instead focus on what we have in common. From that place of appreciation, or love, we can build in space to seek to understand—to value each other no matter how different we are. I believe that if we spent more time doing just that, we would be surprised at what we can accomplish. As the character who played Freddie Mercury inBohemian Rhapsody said, “We’re family. We believe in each other. That’s everything.” Freddie Mercury’s band members had training as physicists and electrical engineers while Freddie had been an airline baggage handler before joining the band. They were very different from each other. Music brought them together. Mr. Rogers often spoke of themes of difference and embracing each other. A scene in Won’t You Be My Neighbor shows Fred Rogers inviting his local police officer, an African American man, to sit beside him while they cooled their feet in a child’s wade pool together. This was during a time, mind you, where there were segregated swimming pools for black and white Americans. In a beautiful way, Fred Rogers broke the color barrier and spread a message of love and acceptance to children across America. He embraced everyone as his neighbor, regardless of what they looked like or where they came from.

At Roycemore, our students and families come from many different backgrounds and experiences, and we come together at our school with a shared commitment to children, providing them with an extraordinary education and making the world (their world) a better place. We all share this passion. We believe in love.

“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”

—Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

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