How Mr. Rogers’ dad showed kindness to thousands of employees

the most excellent way Feb 12, 2024

I will show you the most excellent way…love is kind. (1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:4)

If you had to describe Fred Rogers (of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame) in a single word, it would likely be kindness—a virtue he learned from his father.

According to Fred’s biographer, Maxwell King, Jim Rogers made it a habit to “walk through the rows of manufacturing machines,” in his businesses, “addressing each employee by name, inquiring about their work and about their welfare.” 

Those inquiries helped Jim Rogers discover financial pain in the lives of his employees, which he frequently offered to alleviate. When Jim died, his journal recorded “thousands of ‘loans’ that were never collected.”

The kindness of Fred Rogers’s father led to extraordinary acts of kindness of his own—stories of which have literally filled many books. 

So it should be with us. As we meditate on the kindness of our Heavenly Father, it should lead us to model that same kindness to those we work with as this is part of “the most excellent way” Paul is calling us to in 1 Corinthians 12-13.

We know what kindness looks like. The challenge for us busy professionals is seeing the needs of those who need kindness the most. 

How can we spot opportunities to show God’s kindness to those we work with? Here are three ideas.

#1: Ask co-workers about their welfare—not just their work. See Jim Rogers as Exhibit A.

#2: Schedule one-on-ones where work is the only thing not on the agenda. If you’re a leader in your organization, consider borrowing this practice from my friend Sean Kouplen, CEO of one of the fastest growing banks in America. As Sean shared on my podcast, managers at his bank are required to spend 30 minutes with every direct report every week just to check-in on them personally. These meetings are crazy costly by the world’s standards, but crazy valuable by God’s, as they unearth tons of opportunities to show kindness to those in need.

#3: Refuse to hurry. It’s impossible to show kindness without first seeing a need for kindness. And it’s impossible to see a need for kindness when you’re constantly in a rush (see Jesus, Jairus, and the hemorrhaging woman as case-in-point in Mark 5:21-43). Want to spot opportunities to show kindness to your co-workers? Budget plenty of margin into your day.

Jesus said the world will know that we are his disciples, not by what we say we believe, but by our love for one another (see John 13:35). Find one opportunity to show your love of Jesus by demonstrating uncommon lovingkindness to a co-worker today!


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