“Did you ever think of the many things you’ve learned to do?” “Did you ever grow anything ... in the garden of your mind?” Those are the kinds of gentle, encouraging questions children heard during Fred Rogers’ PBS television show, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” over the course of three decades.
The questions have been remixed into a music video by John Boswell, the creative genius behind an educational and inspirational Web series called Symphony of Science, which is aimed at spotlighting charismatic thinkers who worked to bring the discoveries of their fields to public audiences.
“It’s good to be curious about many things ... there are so many things to learn about in this world ... and so many people who can help us learn,” Rogers says in the clip, called “Garden of the Mind.” Children grasp these ideas with little difficulty. But somewhere on the road to adulthood, the inborn curiosity of many people, if not most, seems to be overcome by a determination to do whatever is necessary to acquire the sort of life one wants—including giving up the drive to learn.
Likewise, somewhere on the road to the present, the values that brought Rogers’ compassionate spirit of discovery to children through television were overshadowed by something darker, more obsessed with violence and fear, and geared toward selling products rather than kindling fires in the human mind.