Mr. Rogers' gift of friendship
<b>Mr. Rogers' gift of friendship</b> In 1995, journalist Tim Madigan made a phone call to interview a well-known television host. At the other end of the line he found an unexpected new friend Fred Rogers, of the celebrated children's television series Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. <b>I'm Proud of You</b> is Madigan's account of that friendship, which lasted until Rogers' death in 2003. During those eight years the two men corresponded through letters, e-mail, phone calls and visits, many of which Madigan references in the book.
The title of the book comes from the end of every message Rogers sent to Tim: IPOY I'm Proud of You. This gentle blessing came to Madigan during a time when he could not reconcile his own drive for success with the feelings of despair that troubled his soul. The simple refrain continued long afterward, a quiet promise of acceptance and encouragement as from a father to a beloved son. The older man's support guided Madigan through battles with depression, troubles in marriage and the death of his younger brother, Steve, at the age of 41.
<b>I'm Proud of You</b> is a beautiful book, a wonderful and moving tribute to life, friendship and love. Through Madigan's eyes and experiences, readers will see how one man's gentle spirit and compassion sparked a flow of love that continued far beyond his reach. Together Rogers and Madigan shared pain and healing, sorrow and joy, in a friendship that Rogers always insisted was as much a blessing to him as to Madigan. Their prayers and mutual faith Rogers as a Presbyterian minister and Madigan as a lifelong Catholic helped them find the grace in every moment, whether joyful or tragic. In the end, Madigan's book is a reminder that true joy is not found in the accomplishments of the human mind, but in the love God puts in the human heart. For fans of Mr. Rogers or those seeking a quiet, uplifting read, <b>I'm Proud of You</b> is an absolute treasure. <i>Howard Shirley is a writer in Franklin, Tennessee.</i>