5 Ways Mr. Rogers Helped Us Become Better People and Parents


Fred Rogers, around age 11, at home with his sister Elaine. (Photo courtesy of The Fred Rogers Company)

I’m a sucker for Mr. Rogers — always have been and always will be. In honor of his birthday this month (3/20/28), I wanted to share a few of the many ways he spoke to our highest aspirations as parents and as human beings.

1. Fred Rogers cut us some slack, acknowledging how hard parenting can be.

“Parents don’t come full bloom at the birth of the first baby. In fact, parenting is about growing. It’s about our own growing as much as it is about our children’s growing and that kind of growing happens little by little.”

2. He reminded us that listening is the most important day-to-day skill we can develop.

“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.”

3. He wouldn’t let us turn our back on those in need.

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

4. He redefined success.

“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.”

5. He spoke of the primacy of everyday moments in our lives.

“In the external scheme of things, shining moments are as brief as the twinkling of an eye, yet such twinklings are what eternity is made of — moments when we human beings can say ‘I love you,’ ‘I’m proud of you,’ ‘I forgive you,’ ‘I’m grateful for you.’ That’s what eternity is made of: invisible imperishable good stuff.”

And as a special bonus for vegetarians out there…

6. Mr. Rogers put his actions where his mouth was.  A vegetarian, he weighed in at 143-pounds.
“I don’t want to eat anything that has a mother.”

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