I recently watched “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” the documentary about Mr. Roger’s life and the story behind the beloved children’s TV show. It was inspiring to see someone who used his influence to try and improve children’s lives on a daily basis. In a time when television was just starting out and people were figuring out how to use it to sell products and produce cheap entertainment, Mr. Roger’s saw it as an opportunity to influence children and educate parents starting in Pennsylvania and then spreading to the entire US and Canada. He used his voice to teach children that they are special and that they don’t need to do anything to earn that “specialness.” People everywhere are unique in their own way and that is what makes them special.
“The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling they are worthwhile.” -Mr. Rogers
He believed that it was important that people everywhere understood and believed they were loved and were capable of loving in return. For those of you that watched the show you know that the number “143” was one of his favorite numbers and held a special meaning.
1- the number of letter’s in “I”
4- the number of letter’s in “LOVE”
3- the number of letter’s in “YOU”
Children need to be taught these lesson’s early so that these are the guiding principles they build on, because life only gets harder. He took his time in the show to show us that life doesn’t need to be rushed and silence can be a gift. He taught us that tolerance for our differences and kindness towards others are things we need to build into our daily life.
Parents and teachers from all over came to him to ask him how to deal with hard situations and he didn’t shy away from the tough issues. His program aired during Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, the Vietnam war, the Challenger explosion to name a few and he addressed them all. He taught us that it was ok to be scared or sad sometimes and it was ok to talk about it. He also taught us that it is okay to get angry about things and how we should express that anger in a constructive manner. He guided us through tough times in this country teaching us how to cope with things that we might not fully comprehend, even as adults.
The hardest thing he had to deal with in his career and something everyone struggles with is that the world is constantly changing. We will never hit a point where everything that could possibly happen will have happened, something new will always going to come along.We must learned to deal with these changes and move forward.
The key lesson’s in life though remain the same.
- Be kind to one another
- Love yourself and others
- Accept peoples differences
- Ask questions if you don’t understand
- Believe that you are special for just being who you are
- Know you are worthy of love
- Trust others
- Children are our future and must be taught that they are special, loved, and heard for who they are
Mr. Rogers stood up for children everyday on television, in life, even in front of Congress. He believed it was our responsibility to not only teach our children how to express emotion, feel their sense of worth, or be kind to others, but also to lead by example. His lessons are not only helpful to children growing up, but are also good reminders for all of us on how we should behave in daily life. So, it doesn’t matter where you live or how much money you make be kind and remember 143.
“Nobody else can live the life you live. And even though no human being is perfect, we always have the chance to bring what’s unique about us to live in a redeeming way.” – Fred Rogers
“Love and trust, in the space between what’s said and what’s heard in our life, can make all the difference in this world.” – Fred Rogers
“We all have different gifts, so we all have different ways of saying to the world who we are.” – Fred Rogers
“I like you just the way you are.” – Fred Rogers
If you haven’t seen the documentary I highly recommend it (make sure to have some tissues)! Here is the trailer