Happy Birthday, Mister Rogers

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Today is Mister Rogers’ birthday—and you know I love that guy. So, I’ve compiled some Fred Rogers quotations (most from this book):

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I’ve chosen words that seem especially relevant in these uncertain and challenging times. After each quotation, I’ve inserted reflection questions to help you sort through whatever you’re feeling today. I hope you find them as helpful as I did.

“We’d all like to feel self-reliant and capable of coping with whatever adversity comes our way, but that’s not how most human beings are made. It’s my belief that the capacity to accept help is inseparable from the capacity to give help when our turn comes to be strong.” —Fred Rogers

Q: What help can you ask for today? What help can you give?

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.” —FR

Q: What feelings do you need to talk about today? Who can you trust with that conversation?

“How we deal with the big disappointments in life depends a great deal on how the people who loved us helped us deal with smaller disappointments when we were little.” —FR

Q: How were you taught to deal with disappointment as a child? How is that impacting you now—positively or negatively? Have you noticed anything you want to re-learn? If you have children, how are you helping them deal with disappointment?

“When I was a child and would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” —FR

Q: What helpers have you seen today?

“We need time to miss the people and the things we lose (no matter whether the loss is temporary or permanent.” —FR

Q: What things have you lost in this crisis? Have you given yourself permission and space to miss those things?

“Some of my richest experiences have come out of the most painful times. . . those that were the hardest to believe would ever turn into anything positive.” —FR

Q: Have this been true for you? Does it help you now to reflect on some of those experiences?

“At many times throughout their lives, children will feel the world has turned topsy-turvy. It’s not the ever-present smile that will help them feel secure. It’s knowing that love can hold many feelings, including sadness, and that they can count on the people they love to be with them until the world turns right side up again.” —FR

Q: Who are the people who love you and will be with you until the world turns right side up again? Whose feelings can you hold with your love?

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