It’s hard not to smile when you hear the name Mr. Rogers. Even though I haven’t watched an episode since I was a kid, I still remember my eyes glued to the screen as I watched the trolley ride into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe to follow the adventures and lessons of King Friday XIII, Lady Elaine Fairchilde, and so many other special characters. (Though my favorite character was always the owl whose proper name I just discovered is actually X the Owl.)
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood has touched so many lives, including my own, spanning multiple generations with his messages of kindness and empathy that still resonate today. And especially in today’s climate, it feels like we need to remember the lessons of Mr. Rogers even more.
Indeed Fred Rogers’ gentle nature and compassion allowed him to easily communicate with both children and adults and skillfully navigate difficult topics from death and divorce to simply accepting who you are.
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was quite unlike any other show on television at that time and this past month the show celebrated its 50 year anniversary. Fred Rogers debuted his first episode on February 19th, 1968. What then followed was an incredible 30 year-long run with 895 episodes of learning, generosity, and imagination that inspired countless viewers and cemented Mr. Rogers’ legacy in television history.
To honor Mr. Rogers’ vast achievements in television, on March 23rd the U.S. Postal Service will debut a Forever Stamp portraying Fred Rogers smiling in his iconic cardigan alongside his puppet King Friday XIII. According to The New York Times, David Newell, who played the lovable mailman Mr. McFeely, commented on the Forever Stamp tribute saying, “I think he would be honored. Because Fred would write a thank-you note for everything.”
And the Forever Stamp is not the only way Fred Rogers will be remembered. Mr. Rogers is moving from the small screen to the big screen. Recently shown at Sundance to rave reviews, is Morgan Neville’s documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Also in the works is another biopic about Fred Rogers titled “You Are My Friend” which will be directed by Marielle Heller and star another beloved celebrity, Tom Hanks. This movie will follow the real-life relationship between Fred Rogers and cynical journalist Tom Junod.
You can also tumble back into your childhood and watch full episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on Amazon Prime. But if you’re too anxious to wait for these movies or watch an episode, and you feel you need a warm hug immediately, read and reread these quotes by Mr. Rogers to help get you through your day.
“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” ― Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember
“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” ― Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember
“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.” ― Fred Rogers
“The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.” ― Fred Rogers
“The thing I remember best about successful people I’ve met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they’re doing and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they’re doing, and they love it in front of others.” ― Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember
There are few people who can move and captivate generations simply with warmth and authenticity. So lace up your loafers, put on your best cardigan, and go out into the world as the person Mr. Rogers knew you could be.