A Lesson from Mister Rogers

I remember when I learned that one of my favorite childhood past-times, Mister Rogers Neighborhood was filmed in my city, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I was so honored to live where many tuned in everyday to watch the late Fred Rogers aka Mister Rogers, as he  captured the hearts of families by shining a light on the value of community.

Mister Rogers was an advocate for healthy families, and believed that by showing love and support to every child, he could change the world. Rogers was many things, a “children’s television presenter, actor, puppeteer, singer, composer, television producer, author, educator, Presbyterian minister” but, his passion for youth and families is what I remember most.

Growing up, I loved watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Now that I am a mother, I am remembering Rogers legacy and have seen the lessons that his words and songs have on children. My daughter loves watching Daniel Tigers Neighborhood, which is based on the Neighborhood of Make-Believe from Mister Rogers’ NeighborhoodSeeing my daughter learn the same lessons 20+ years later that Mister Rogers taught me as a child is so nostalgic and shows how much of an impact he was in the world.

Mister Rogers made his mark in this world showing love to children of all different backgrounds, ethnicity, socio-economic classes, and religions. My favorite Fred Rogers quote is also the theme song from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine, could you be mine, won’t you be, my neighbor?” He saw the beauty in life and the world around him. He wanted to help parents and children to see the same.

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Rogers’ left a message that every child matters, big or small, rich or poor, happy or sad, and that value is essential.  Here is a song from a man who dedicated his life to uplifting all youth and children in hopes of helping parents through the beauty and the struggles of raising a child.

What do you do with the mad that you feel,

when you feel so mad you could bite?

When the whole wide world seems oh so wrong,

and nothing you do seems very right? 

What do you do?

Do you punch a bag?

Do you pound some clay or some dough?

Do you round up friends for a game of tag? 

Or, see how fast you go?

It’s great to be able to stop, when you plan the thing that’s wrong, 

and be able to do something else instead, and think this song!

I can stop when I want to! 

I can stop when I wish!

I can stop, stop, stop, anytime, and what a good feeling to feel like this. 

And, know that the feeling is really mine; 

Know that there is something deep inside,

that helps us become what we can

For a girl can be someday a lady

and a boy can be someday a man!” 

-Mister Fred Rogers, before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications: May 1, 1969 “What Do You Do (With the Mad You Feel)

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