The Challenge: Write a letter to a childhood hero (real or fictional).
My childhood hero was Mr. Fred Rogers. The half hour I spent with him each morning was one of the favorite parts of my day. His gentle friendly nature taught me a lot about what it means to be a good friend. His adventures to factories and behind the scenes gave me permission to be curious about things I knew nothing about. After going to school for Early Childhood Education I really appreciate Mr. Roger’s skills even more. His sincere devotion to helping kids and the methods he used to do that were genius! Since Mr. Rogers passed away almost three years ago, I decided to send my letter to his wife, Joanne. I am blessed that he was my neighbor.
Dear Mrs. Rogers,
I was recently asked to write a letter to my childhood hero. I immediately thought of your husband, Fred. As a child Fred taught me so many things about life and learning. He encouraged curiosity and playfulness. His gentle and thoughtful nature modeled sincerity in friendships and integrity. Of course as a child I didn’t realize that the 1/2 hour a day that I spent with Mr. Rogers was teaching me so much. I just knew that he was my neighbor and I liked spending that 1/2 hour with him.
After receiving a degree in Early Childhood Education and teaching Kindergarten for 5 years, I had the chance to watch an episode of his show as an adult. I was blown away by the amount of learning that his jammed packed into that 1/2 hour in such creative ways. I saw his show through a whole new lens. Hearing his gentle voice speaking to me through the television reminded me how much he really affected me as a small child.
My husband and I work together now to help improve the lives of children and to encourage grown-ups to “Escape Adulthood” and return to childhood. It is not always an easy road, as I’m sure the road you and Fred journeyed together was also not that easy at times. I just want to thank you for supporting him and being his partner on the journey. My life has been forever changed by his ministry!
I wrote a letter to my boyhood hero, baseball player Ryne Sandberg. I am planning on sending the letter to him via the Cubs, with an old baseball card I’m hoping he’ll sign. My brothers and I used to write to athletes for autographs when we were kids, so this was definitely a blast from the past. Here’s the letter:
Dear Mr. Sandberg,
I wanted to take a few moments to thank you for all that you gave to me and the game of baseball. I grew up a Cubs fan, and from day one, you were my favorite. I admired your blend of speed, power, and fielding prowess. Probably more than that, although it took me a while to realize it, I admired your integrity and professionalism. Because of you, I always wanted to play second base, and I got pretty good at it in high school.
As I’ve grown up, it appears that you’re about the only sports hero I looked up to that still has his integrity in tact. That point was driven home pretty clearly when I heard your Hall of Fame induction speech. You stood up against the me-first attitude that has dominated pro sports and upheld the ideals of teamwork, commitment, and professionalism. It’s too bad there aren’t more role models like you.
I “retired” from baseball after high school to pursue my other love, art. But the standards you modeled while playing for the Cubs have stuck with me my whole life. I try to approach my career with the same quiet professionalism and dedication that you displayed on the field and in the media. I’d just like to offer you a belated congratulations on making it into the Hall of Fame, and thank you for being one of the good guys.
Good luck with all your future endeavors.
Jason W. Kotecki
P.S. I never was able to meet you or get anything autographed by you, but if you have the time to scribble on the baseball card I’ve included, I sure would appreciate it.
So, who was most creative with today’s challenge? Who went beyond the comfort zone and put the biggest hammer on Adultitis? Who did a better job of capturing the spirit of childhood, Kim or Jason? Cast Your Vote!
Tomorrow’s Challenge: Audio Sneak Peek