Beautiful day in the neighborhood

On a positive note...

I really miss Fred Rogers.

Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers, has always been a personal hero of mine. He had such a kind and reassuring way of talking to children. He stressed the importance of play to learning, being kind to one another and was a great proponent of accepting diversity.

I watched him as a child and loved it when the little trolley would round the track, go through the tunnel and into the Neighborhood of Make Believe. There we would see Daniel Striped Tiger, or Lady Elaine Fairchilde, Bob Dog or King Friday. And Fred Rogers did many of the voices for those beloved puppet characters.

Through each episode, children learned about animals or the arts or museums or different occupations. And it was so interesting that you didn’t even realize you were learning something.

As an adult, I’ve often looked back at wisdom and quotes by Mr. Rogers. He had a real understanding for what children (and adults) needed to hear.

“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people,” Fred Rogers once said. In fact he said the same thing every day as he would wrap up his show — “There’s no person in the whole world like you, and I like you just the way you are.”

What a wonderful, calming affirmation to share with children in this world that often lacks civility and compassion.

“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.”

I thought about another quote this week as I watched the footage of Hurricane Harvey and it’s devastation.

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.'”

It seems like there were many wonderful helpers in Texas the past few days. The first responders, law enforcement, Red Cross workers and even the Cajun Navy — a group of people from Louisiana who traveled with boats to Texas to help in the rescue efforts. The kindness and generosity of spirit was evident.

“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.”  That’s an easy concept to put into action. All it takes is a little time, a little effort and the rewards can be tremendous.

Be kind.

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