Last night as I was walking out of a restaurant with my husband, I looked at the “Now Showing” poster at our local movie theater and stopped dead in my tracks. In fact, I may have screamed loud enough to startle the sweet couple that was passing by. My childhood hero Mr. Rogers, was staring back at me beckoning me to drop everything to see “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
Knowing what a huge fan I was of Fred Rogers, my sweet husband says without hestitation, "it starts in 20 minutes, let's watch it!" It didn't take more than the opening segment for the tears to start rolling, and for the memories to come flooding back. You see, Mr. Rogers was a huge part of my childhood. Over the years I've tried to articulate to people why and I've never been able to adequately put into words the difference this public television show made on my life. When I sat in front of the television each day as a child, it was as if Mr. Rogers stepped through the screen and spoke directly to my highly sensitive Tisha heart making me understand that my feelings mattered and that I was special, just as I was. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t face to face with his television audience, his genuine love for children was evident; he was the ultimate “kid connector”. The topics he discussed were real and difficult, and delivered in a way that children could process them, and feel normal and valued for the feelings that they were experiencing. He understood the emotions of a child and the importance of curiosity, play, and make-believe in a child's development.
My mom loved Mr. Rogers too, and would often sing songs from the show to me at night. The one song that holds special value to me is "It's You I Like".
It's you I like
It's not the things you wear,
It's not the way you do your hair,
but it's you I like.
The way you are right now.
The way down deep inside you,
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys, they're just beside you.
But it's you I like, every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you'll remember
Even when you're feeling blue
That it's you I like,
It's you yourself, it's you,
I’m fortunate I came from a home where those words were sung and spoken to me often, yet so many live in homes where they don’t know that their feelings matter or that they are special just the way they are. There are a multitude of lessons I’ve learned from Mr. Rogers that I’ve carried into adulthood, but the lesson that stands out above all else is….love people. Whether you lead kids or adults, help them feel valued and that their feelings matter. Take time to build relationships. Listen...really listen. Show gratitude and appreciation. Be kind. We all want to be liked and to feel loved.
This connected world we live in is amazing, but sometimes we get lost. We compare and think that who we are isn’t good enough, or special enough. Watching the story of Mr. Rogers was a beautiful reminder to love each other and recognize the unique and special qualities in the people we care for. Thank you Mr. Rogers for making a difference in this little girl’s life and so many others from around the world. You left an incredible legacy and I will be forever grateful.
7/4/2018 07:32:52 am
Hear hear. I watched an episode for the first time in about 40 years. I think Mr. R affected me in subliminal ways I never realized. My appreciation for how things work, art, music, the real people behind celebrity (Matgaret Hamilton - the witch from Wizard of Oz - was on, young mind blown) and, like you mentioned, appreciating those around (even when very different). Also, I have this strange fascination for miniatures and dioramas. Totally comes from MRN. Here's another tip of the hat for being, for many of us, our first life teacher.
7/6/2018 07:43:45 am
Love this post Tisha! The more I learn about you and your beautiful heart, the more I am inspired by you! ❤️❤️❤️ I watched Mr. Rogers everyday too and was so comforted by his accepting and loving view of the world.
7/6/2018 09:47:10 am
Oh, Allyson! Your kind words mean so much! Thank you for taking time to read and comment. Always warms my heart to learn the impact this show made on others lives too. So grateful to call you a friend! ❤️
8/27/2018 06:27:37 pm
Mr. Roger is part of my childhood too. He affected my life in a very subliminal way, but I am pretty sure that I grew up with him and the values he has were instilled in my mind. Your experience was really great. It's good to reminisce the good old times, especially when the memories you're about to walk in are all good. He totally knows how to deal with his audience, and that's a quality not all artists have nowadays. I missed watching his shows!
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Student Engagement & PD Specialist in Southern Oregon, Canva Learning Consultant, Canva Education Creator, and author of Make Learning Magical. I'm passionate about finding innovative ways to transform teaching and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom.