Who’s your neighbor?

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.

FRED ROGERS

Fred Rogers was a unique individual – soft spoken, calm, intentional. He was a Presbyterian
minister and was given special permissions to make his show, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, and his audience of children his ministry.

I find this especially interesting, and I don’t ever remember religion being an overt part of the show. Fred was focused on modeling and showcasing what it is to be a good human, to be a neighbor.

I took a deep dive recently into his world through a stack of books available at my local library. Last year as a preschool teacher, I strived to demonstrate patience, to say the right words, and to cultivate an atmosphere of love and kindness like Rogers did. And yet, it was a very daunting and difficult task.

When I found myself failing, I reminded myself that he was looking into the camera lens, talking to millions of children in a one to one scenario; whereas, I can not do the same with a class of eight students who are all tugging at the hems of my skirt for a tissue or to tell me a completely unrelated story while we are reading a book aloud, or ask me a question, or let me know that Susie hit him upside the head with the coffee maker in dramatic play area, or to tell me that Davey is no longer her best friend and he is not invited to her birthday party.

Breathe.

Just for kicks…Anyone else? A widespread meme showing the ups and downs of parenting

Despite not being able to be Mr. Rogers, or to come even close, there are some things I can do…like listen and wait. Be present.

Mr. Rogers was a complex man, and I enjoyed reading and learning about him. Reading these books brought back memories of childhood, memories of Daddy’s graduation from Old Dominion (where Fred Rogers gave the commencement speech). He has so many quotables so I will leave you with a few.


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 life.

The real issue in life is not how many blessings we have, but what we do with our blessings. Some people have many blessings and hoard them. Some have few and give everything away.

Our advocate will do anything to remind us that we are lovable and that our neighbor is lovable, too!

The most important part about communicating is the listening we do beforehand.

Anything mentionable is manageable.

Anyone who has ever been able to sustain good work has had at least one person – and often many- who have believed in him or her. We just don’t get to be competent human beings without a lot of different investments from others.

Do any of these quotes speak to you, or do you have a Rogers quote to share that’s not included here? I’d love to hear from you!

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