People laugh when I mention that Mr. Rogers is one of my favorite philosophers. They say things like, “You mean the children’s television show guy?” While it may be true that Fred Rogers was the host of a television program meant for children, I am going to show you an example of why his knowledge is just as good, if not better, for adults. We are going to explain this fact using the song that was sung at the conclusion of every episode of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.
We will start with the first line. It’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive. How many of us start the day like that? When we wake up, what is the first thought in our minds? Is it “Another day of work again?” or “I would have had much better sleep had they just stopped snoring?” When really these are all great gifts. Many people would love to have a job. Sure, the one you have might not be your dream job, but you are getting paid and in many cases have things like insurance or retirement. Snoring might not be the best sound to fall asleep to, but it is also an audible reminder that you have someone who loves you enough to not only sleep next to you, but accept you with all of your imperfections. To lastly, the greatest gift of all, the gift of being alive. Our lives, bodies, relationships and jobs may not be exactly what we want, but by waking up every morning we have a chance to improve them and to bring joy to others.
Now let us tackle the second line. It’s such a happy feeling you’re growing inside. One of the people who started my journey into self-improvement was Tony Robbins. He says that happiness can be summed up in one word – progress. When we feel like we are progressing, or better put, growing inside, we feel happy. This brings us a sense of pride. What many of us fail to realize is that we are always growing inside, or at least we could be. Everything from painful experiences to the mistakes we make can help us grow. This is only true if we learn from them. Next time you find yourself feeling bad, just ask, “What can I learn from this situation?” By doing so you will be progressing to become a better version of yourself. You will not only feel a sense of pride, joy and accomplishment, you may actually feel yourself growing inside.
And when you wake up ready to say,”I think I’ll make a snappy new day.” I love this line! I once did a video for my YouTube channel (Neil Panosian) called waking up in Neutral. One of the most important things we can do when we wake up is set a positive intention for the day. What do 90% of us do, however? We wake up in neutral. That is we let the world decide what kind of day we are going to have. If we are late, spill our coffee, get stuck in traffic or a million other little things go wrong, our day is shot. How different would it be if we woke up and said to ourselves, “I am going to have a great day no matter what!” or more simply “I think I’ll make a snappy new day.” Even though those other things may still go wrong, they will not affect us as greatly.
It’s such a good feeling, A very good feeling, The feeling you know, that I’ll be back, when the day is new. The last part of that is very important. I’ll be back when the day is new. Having something to look forward to is a key ingredient to having a happy life. Knowing that you will have a friend (or television neighbor) that will return to your life is a very intense joy that many of us fail to treasure as much as we should. After waking up and deciding it will be a snappy new day, the very next thing we should focus on is what we have to look forward to in the future. It could be something that afternoon or further in the future When the day is new.
And I’ll have more ideas for you. New ideas and thoughts are also something we should both be grateful for, and look forward to. Perhaps the solution to a question that has been bothering us may come to light. Maybe a wonderful poem or lyrics to a song? Perhaps, like in our household, an idea for a new flavor of cake and cupcake or idea for an intriguing blog post. Hearing new ideas from our friends can be exciting too. They have a completely different life and way of looking at things. By listening to them we expand our own world in ways we never could have imagined. I hear from people and Online Neighbors thanks to this blog post. I am blessed enough to hear from people across the country and the world. I may hear from someone in Italy about a great hard rock band I have forgotten about or someone in Peru with a delicious recipe I would like to try. Their ideas make my life better.
And you’ll have things you’ll want to talk about, I will too. Much like the previous line, I am so grateful for the wonderful neighbors I have met through this blog. Having conversations with different people helps me think and know what to write about. A conversation with a good friend can make us feel better when we are feeling down, can help us become inspired when we need to be and can even give us some helpful advice and encouragement when we need it. Realizing everybody has things they will want to talk about can remind us that we should spend equal amounts of time listening as well as sharing.
I hope by breaking down this song from the program has given you a glimpse into why I believe Mr. Rogers can be a blessing and a teacher to all of us. His ability to break down and teach what I like to refer to as Human fundamentals is a rare and valuable gift. How many adults do you encounter in a week who could stand to watch episodes that teach ‘What to do when you are mad’ or just gain knowledge of how to be a better neighbor? Pull up the video of this song online and play it whenever you need a reminder of how to have such a good feeling!