Mr. Rogers’ valuable lessons are needed now more than ever. Even as adults we can still learn from the man who asks us “won’t you be my neighbor?”
1. Routine and responsibility are the bedrock of your day. Every day, Mister Rogers entered the home on his show and did the same things — sang a peppy song, put on his cardigan and changed out of his dress shoes, fed the fish and had a warm conversation with us. Routines are comforting to children, but maintaining a daily routine and something that brings you care and comfort can get you through hard times no matter your age.
2. It feels good to make something, even if you aren’t very good at it. In one episode, Rogers used crayons to make a quick picture and illustrate a point, saying a little offhandedly, “I’m not very good at it, but it doesn’t matter. It feels good to have made something.”
3. Put on your sneakers. It always helps to change into your comfortable play clothes at the end of the day.
4. Look for the helpers. In recent years, the Fred Rogers Company has published a nice body of parent resources, including an interview with Rogers in which he talked about how to help children get through tragic events. Here’s one quote from it: “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.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.” When something terrible happens in your life, do the same. So many people around you are willing to help if they know that you need help. And better yet, now that you’re grown up, you can be one of the helpers for others in times of need.
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