In Part 1, I talked about my good fortune to watch the TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood with my children, to hear Fred Rogers speak at a national conference for teachers, and to see the documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”.
Fifteen years ago I was gifted a book by the family of a child in my class: “The World According to Mister Rogers. Important Things to Remember.”
It is a collection of his quotations and short writings. It is a collection of wisdom! Here are a few of those pearls:
When my mother or my grandmother tried to keep me from climbing too high, my grandfather would say, “Let the kid walk on the wall. He’s got to learn to do things for himself.” I loved my grandfather for trusting me so much. His name was Fred McFeely. No wonder I included a lively, elderly delivery man in our television ‘neighborhood’ whom we named “Mr. McFeely.”
The values we care about the deepest, and the movements within society that support those values, command our love. When those things that we care about so deeply become endangered, we become enraged. And what a healthy thing that is! Without it, we would never stand up and speak out for what we believe.
The thing I remember best about successful people I’ve met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they’re doing… and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they’re doing, and they love it in front of others.
I must be an emotional archaeologist because I keep looking for the roots of things, particularly the roots of behavior and why I feel certain ways about certain things.
One of the best (and favorite) songs that Mister Rogers sings is “It’s You I Like.”
“It’s you I like.
It’s not the things you wear.
It’s not the way you do your hair,
But it’s you I like.
The way you are right now.
The way down deep inside you.
Not the things that hide you.
Not your toys, they’re just beside you.
But it’s you I like, every part of you.
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
Even when you’re feeling blue
That it’s you I like,
It’s yourself, it’s you.
It’s you… I … like!”
When we sing this song in my classroom, it feels good. Children are quiet, smiling inside. They know. They understand. I do, too.
Stay tuned for Part 3, more words of wisdom from Mister Rogers.