Fred Rogers, AKA Mr. Rogers, is America's, perhaps even the world's, favorite neighbor. He coined the phrase "Won't you be my neighbor" and had a way of bringing the most different of people together with his childlike essence, meekness, and ability to communicate big concepts to the littlest of people. In his noteworthy button-up cardigans, he was able to grasp the attention of the most wiggly and distracted of children (including younger me), leaving us hanging on his every last word. As a child, he felt like an adored part of the family and his passing broke my young heart. I can still remember where I was on the day I learned he had passed and the feelings that felt too big for my little heart to understand fully. I am sure I share this experience with others who loved Mr. Rogers too.
A part of what made Mr. Rogers so special was his passion for quality and appropriate children's media programming. As a Christian minister, the themes of his shows were love, kindness, self-esteem, empathy, and emotional health. As an educator, he used the power of imagination to captivate his audience for over three decades. I still remember his colorful yet realistic sets, puppets, choo-choo trains, and many guests he had on his show over the years. Nowadays, there are few, if any, children's television programs that parents can trust all around. Mr. Rogers's children's media marked a special time in history when children had a safe option of entertainment... but really, it felt more like the best teacher you've ever had explaining the complexities of life, emotions, and friendships in ways even the most innocent of children could understand and absorb.
Below are a few of our favorite heartwarming quotes from Mr. Rogers:
- "All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we're giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That's one of the things that connects us as neighbors--in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver."
- "Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero. "
- "As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has- or ever will have- something inside that is unique to all time. It's our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression."
- "Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime's work, but it's worth the effort."
- "Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love. Like all of life's important coping skills, the ability to forgive and the capacity to let go of resentments most likely take root very early in our lives."
- "How many times have you noticed that it's the little quiet moments in the midst of life that seem to give the rest extra-special meaning?"
- "I don't think anyone can grow unless he's loved exactly as he is now, appreciated for what he is rather than what he will be."
- "I hope you're proud of yourself for the times you've said "yes," when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to someone else."
- "If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person."
- "In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers."
- "It's not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls. It's the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our very being is good stuff."
- "It's not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life that ultimately nourish our souls. It's the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our very being is firm."
- "It's really easy to fall into the trap of believing that what we do is more important than what we are. Of course, it's the opposite that's true: What we are ultimately determines what we do!"
- "Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people."
- "Listening is where love begins: listening to ourselves and then to our neighbors."
- "Little by little we human beings are confronted with situations that give us more and more clues that we are not perfect. "
- "Love and success, always in that order. It's that simple AND that difficult."
- "Love is like infinity: You can't have more or less infinity, and you can't compare two things to see if they're 'equally infinite.' Infinity just is, and that's the way I think love is, too."
- "Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now."
- "Mutual caring relationships require kindness and patience, tolerance, optimism, joy in the other's achievements, confidence in oneself, and the ability to give without undue thought of gain."
- "Often out of periods of losing come the greatest strivings toward a new winning streak."
- "Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else."
- "Our society is much more interested in information than wonder, in noise rather than silence...And I feel that we need a lot more wonder and a lot more silence in our lives"
- "Real strength has to do with helping others."
- "Some days, doing 'the best we can' may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn't perfect on any front-and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else."
- "There's a world of difference between insisting on someone's doing something and establishing an atmosphere in which that person can grow into wanting to do it."
- "The connections we make in the course of a life--maybe that's what heaven is."
- "The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self."
- "The kingdom of God is for the broken hearted"
- "The media shows the tiniest percentage of what people do. There are millions and millions of people doing wonderful things all over the world, and they're generally not the ones being touted in the news."
- "The only thing evil can't stand is forgiveness."
- "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."
- "The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile." "Try your best to make goodness attractive. That's one of the toughest assignments you'll ever be given."
- "There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind."
- "There are times when explanations, no matter how reasonable, just don't seem to help."
- "There is no normal life that is free of pain. It's the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth."
- "There's a part of all of us that longs to know that even what's weakest about us is still redeemable and can ultimately count for something good."
- "We all have different gifts, so we all have different ways of saying to the world who we are."
- "We get so wrapped up in numbers in our society. The most important thing is that we are able to be one-to-one, you and I with each other at the moment. If we can be present to the moment with the person that we happen to be with, that's what's important."
- "We speak with more than our mouths. We listen with more than our ears."
- "Whatever we choose to imagine can be as private as we want it to be. Nobody knows what you're thinking or feeling unless you share it."
- "Who you are inside is what helps you make and do everything in life."
- "You can think about things and make believe. All you have to do is think and they'll grow."
- "You can't really love someone else unless you really love yourself first."
- "You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are."