If you follow my writing for even the briefest of time, you have probably have heard me mention Mr. Rogers, the host of the popular children’s television show. I believe the respect he had for children and the lessons he taught them not only changed the lives of the children at the time, but could be as beneficial, if not more, to the adults of today. Not sure if you believe me? Think of how many adults you know could benefit from singing the lyrics to the song “What do you do with the mad that you feel?” Which outlines the importance of releasing the feelings of anger in a healthy and constructive manner. Somedays, even I think I might want to play that song.
I recall this idea bouncing around my head while I witnessed questionable behavior from adults as I worked at the post office. It still comes back to me as I watch those in congress belittle each other in the media. Mr. Rogers, I am afraid, would not be very happy with these adults. I found myself wishing these adults could be reminded of the important lesson that were gently delivered by Mr. Rogers to the young children. It was then that the idea hit me – if Mr. Rogers is gone and these adults could use some firm but gentle reminders of what is truly important, than that is what I shall do!
For the last 25 years of my life that is what I have done. Through my books, my blogs, my live seminars and in my personal interaction with people, I have done my best to remind them of what Mr. Rogers taught all of us. The importance of being kind to others. The importance of not only our feelings, but the feelings of those around us, including those we may not always agree with. Couldn’t we all use a reminder about loving and accepting each other despite our differences of opinion, color, creed and political ideology? If you look at the picture above, Mr. Rogers did this on an episode when it was not yet acceptable for white and black people to share a swimming pool. He even offered his friend his towel to share as well. He lead by example. Another lesson I think we could all stand to be reminded of. If you want a more loving world, do your best to be more loving. Want a world that is more accepting of others? Make sure your heart is open as well. We don’t have to yell and shout to make a big difference. Even a kind and simple gesture can be just as, if not more powerful. I think Mr. Rogers proved this in the photo above.
As the years go by, I am continually reminded of the lessons I learned from Mr. Rogers. It would seem that not a day goes by when one of the songs or things that he talked about comes into play for me as an adult. I am sure that is true for so many of us. Lessons that we mentioned above along with several others seem to fade from memory and are replaced with thoughts of how to get ahead or how to keep up with the Joneses. If we take ourselves back to the lessons we learned in childhood, I think we would be better adults. If we would be less concerned with office gossip and more concerned with how to treat our ‘Neighbor’ as Fred taught us to, I think this world would be a much better place.
To that end, that is what we do here. We remind each other of the important lessons. We also are reminded on how important it is to love and accept ourselves. We often have a quite difficult time accepting our limitations and shortcomings. If you are having difficultly loving and accepting yourself, it can often be reflected in the way we treat others. We must first learn to have compassion with ourselves. Understanding that we make many mistakes in our journey of life, can make it for easier to be understanding and accepting of what we perceive as faults in others. If we have a second, it might serve us well to find an episode or two of Mr. Rogers and remind ourselves of some very important lessons we forgot along the way.