At the beginning of my journey, I never would have imagined ending up here writing this paper. Through all of the ups, downs, and turnarounds, lessons have been learned the hard way. No matter what is going on in life, there is always something to be taken away. Coincidences don’t happen. Everything has a reason, a learning curve, a seed, that if taken care of properly, will flourish into an abundance of beautiful growth. One person in particular has helped me keep my mind and soul nourished: Mr. Rogers.
Throughout 895 episodes of wisdom, only being able to watch a few, changed the way I go about everything (NPR). He always illustrated who we ought to be: a caring, compassionate, loving, accepting, patient, gentle, kind human being to all whom we come in contact with, even if they are rude. There was never an excuse to raise his voice or to get angry, but he taught us to appreciate their point of view. “Everyone’s special in this life. Everybody you meet has something special to give and receive” (9). No matter how the interaction between another goes, he appreciated their worth because there is good in everyone if you look for it. Even if people are wrong, good still exists inside, we must find that good, and let them know they are loved. “You are a very special person. There is only one just like you. There’s never been anyone exactly like you in the history of the earth, and there never will be again. And people can like you because you’re you” (19). Once again, he shows us our worth. Mr. Rogers reminds me, us, that we are unique.
Generosity can never be overdone. Mr. Rogers modeled the importance of saying ‘thank you.’ “Thank you. Two of the best words we can ever learn. In fact, ‘thank you’ is a way of saying ‘I love you” (31). He always had a way with words. His gentle, yet powerful statements embedded themselves into my mind. Our friendly neighbor, Mr. Rogers also exhibited that helping is loving. Small acts of help can brighten someone’s day, even if it’s just with a smile. One of his neighborhood friends, from the land of make believe, Aber, said, “When anybody’s in trouble, we try to do what we can” (49). When we love ourselves, we can love others more fully and when we do that, we can do anything. We can become everyday heroes. And the more we can contribute, the more we can see the needs of others. “There are many helpful people in this world, aren’t there? The more you grow into a helpful person yourself, the happier you’ll find this world of ours is” (51). Magically, Mr. Rogers knows how to ease one’s mind. I have found that the more we love, the more we care, the more we realize how many happy people are out there.
Beauty is found everywhere. Everyday beauty such as the birds chirping a melody or the moon shining down on us. “Wondering and marveling is never a waste of time” (105). Taking a deep breath of air to admire the clouds, listening to the wind brushing against the leaves, and hearing the crickets chirp can help us feel peace; connecting to nature lets us feel at home. Taking time to see, helps you and me to slow down so we can realize what is truly important. It takes us from the worries of the world and puts us at peace with the world.
You see, everyone is our neighbor. “Everybody’s different. And there are some things about everybody that are the same. That’s what’s wonderful. That’s what helps us to understand each other. That we’ve got some things inside of us that are the same as somebody else’s. We’re all human beings” (115).
Thus, Mr. Rogers opened my heart and mind to see everyone with a new pair of eyes; to have a continual desire to love and help them appreciate their worth. Daily, his example makes me know I am unique, I am enough, and people can love me for who I am. His example is one to always follow because you can never love enough. All of the lessons he taught will never be forgotten because he is my everyday hero, an ordinary man with a soul full of grace.
Rogers, Fred. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Clarkson Potter, 2019.
Burns, Asia Simone. “Mister Rogers Still Lives In Your Neighborhood.” NPR, NPR, 18 Feb. 2018, www.npr.org/2018/02/18/584669284/mister-rogers-still-lives-in-your-neighborhood.