As part of the celebration for the 50th(!!) anniversary of everyone's favorite neighbor Mister Rogers, PBS just aired a beautiful tribute, MISTER ROGERS: IT'S YOU I LIKE.
As I watched, I once again became instantly enraptured by Fred, as I had when I was a child. I loved reliving the stories and memories shared by those interviewed. Did you know that between 1968 and 2001, he broadcast almost 900 episodes?
I believe Mister Rogers was instrumental in shaping my young self.
He believed in smart, authentic, and honest programming for children. He treated all his viewers as deserving of a listening ear, no matter their age, and he never talked down his audience. I don't really remember specific episodes, only the feeling I got while watching him (and my sincere love of adorable Daniel the Tiger). He was a kind, patient, loving presence. Rewatching his lessons as an adult, I found myself awestruck, tearing up at the relevance his messages have not just for children, but for everyone of any age who may have anxiety or fear in dealing with difficult things.
One major takeaway was Mister Rogers' passion for trying new things, and not always being especially GOOD at them.
For him, it was the act of trying, the act of experimenting, that gave him joy. He showed all who spent time with him how to try and have fun and make mistakes. The world didn't come crumbling down. In fact, the goofs and the silliness made learning that much sweeter. He was a man full of compassion, patience, and maybe most importantly, insatiable curiosity.
Can we continue to follow his example and allow our inner child permission to play? Permission to feel joy even with (or because of) our mistakes?
I believe it's of the utmost importance that we allow ourselves this gift. He dedicated most of his life to sharing his lessons, and not once along the way did he ever stop learning.
I want to hear YOUR Mister Rogers stories. Share your favorite memories and takeaways from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in the comments below!
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