Conversations, VOLUME 12

Maxwell King – The Life and Work of Fred Rogers – Interview

Maxwell King Rogers Interview

Slow Down and Be Kind

An Interview with Maxwell King,

Author of  The Good Neighbor:
The Life and Work of Fred Rogers

 – PAGE 3 –

MK: Fred was an accomplished storyteller. He knew good stories need dramatic tension. And without Lady Elaine, a significant part of the dramatic attention would have been missing.

JP: Yes.

MK: Before we wrap up, there is one thing I wanted to mention to you. I noticed you are associated with the notion of “Slow Church.” I wanted to address that with you.

Since I wrote the book, I’ve been doing a lot speaking, including radio interviews and telephone interviews; I must have done forty of these things. Particularly in public, a lot of people ask me to “boil it down.” Can I boil down to a few words what Fred represented? Although it’s a little bit of a disservice to Fred, because he was a very deep thinker, I agree to try.

The way I boil it down is to say that there are really two pieces to Fred’s message: Slow down. And be kind. Those two pieces were related to each other for Fred. Because if you don’t slow down, if you get swept away by the increasing pace of today’s society—faster and more complex—you really can’t be kind. You can’t have authentic, respectful, caring, kind relationships with other people if you’re constantly being swept up on this tide of speed.

So slow down and be kind. I believe they were related for Fred. They certainly are for me.


John Pattison is co-author of Slow Church and a longtime admirer of Mister Rogers. John lives with his family in Silverton, Oregon. You can connect with him on Twitter at @johnepattison.




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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:

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