There’s a scene in the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood when journalist Lloyd Vogel looks at Fred Rogers and suggests that it couldn’t have been easy growing up with the famous Mr. Rogers for a father.
Rogers, played by Tom Hanks, gives it some thought. With a hint of sadness in his eyes, he shares a little about how his two boys at times didn’t respond well to his fame, how they eventually worked through their relationship issues, and how proud he now is of his sons.
“But you are right, Lloyd,” Rogers says. “It couldn’t have been easy on them.” Then he pauses and adds, “Thank you. Thank you for that perspective.”
The scene is a wonderful reminder as we turn the page toward the 2020 version of Thanksgiving that gratitude isn’t reserved exclusively for the good things that come our way. It’s also a healing force for our disappointments, regrets, pain, and hardships. Throughout the movie, Rogers is nothing if not thankful – even for a painful reminder that he wasn’t a perfect father.
There’s no way to sugarcoat 2020 as anything other than a difficult year. I know people who have grown their businesses, gotten married, had children or grandchildren, and experienced all sorts of other joyful occasions. But I know of no one who hasn’t also experienced more difficulties and frustrations in 2020 than in typical years. As Mr. Rogers might point out, it’s how we deal with it that matters.