After watching “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” with the ever-so-lovable Tom Hanks, I walked away feeling inspired. We should all be a little more like Mr. Rogers.
The show, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” first made its way to television sets on February 19, 1968. I was seven years old then and hate to admit that I didn’t fully appreciate the PBS show.
However, as an adult, I can see how Mr. Rogers’ compassion and empathy taught us baby boomers as children that we are special just for being ourselves.
And Mr. Rogers helped calm us during a tumultuous time. As you boomers will remember, watching the news was scary in 1968 with the Vietnam War raging and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. As Fred Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
Mr. Rogers’ sense of innocence, calmness, curiosity, and playfulness helped us baby boomers see the sometimes frightening world as a place to experience love and kindness, a place to create and invent, a place to live a positive and meaningful life.
It seems the show resonated with a lot of people since it ran on PBS until 2001. What is so wonderful is that it turns out Fred Rogers was just as calm, kind, wise, and empathetic in real life as he was on his iconic children’s show.
In honor of the movie, which I absolutely loved, here are 10 quotes that are sure to brighten your day, encourage you to be kinder and more thoughtful, and reach out to your neighbor.
“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.”
“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”
“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”
“Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.”
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“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 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.”
“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.”
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“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.”
“It’s not so much what we have in this life that matters. It’s what we do with what we have.”
“Everyone longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving.”
Fred Rogers died in 2003, but his words live on to inspire us all. As Mr. Rogers sings in the theme song from his show, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”: “So, let’s make the most of this beautiful day.”