Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood…

“Let’s make the most of this beautiful day, since we’re together, might as well say… would you be my, could you be my, won’t you be my neighbor?”

I loved “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” – probably more than my kids who grew up in the generation of Mr. Rogers.  A “Google” doodle last week reminded us that it has been 51 years since the very first episode of this awesome show was premiered.  Fifty-one years… wow, that makes me old!  But back to Mr. Rogers… can we think for a moment about the influence of Fred Rogers had on many generations? His was a calm, caring demeanor.  His was a presence that calmed your spirit.  His was a voice that could talk about both fun and difficult things, and always make us feel safe.  So… I thought I’d share the lyrics of some of the songs he sang – most of which I don’t remember, but I have found great value in them – I hope you’ll find, as I did, that they are perhaps more meaningful for us as adults, but also good lessons for children to grow up with.  Note: These lyrics come, with gratitude, courtesy of the website www.neighborhoodarchive.com.

“I like you as you are – exactly and precisely.  I think you turned out nicely, and I like you as you are.  I like you as you are without a doubt or question, or even a suggestion ‘cause I like you as you are. I like your disposition – your facial composition.  And with your kind permission I’ll shout it to a star.  I like you as you are – I wouldn’t want to change you or even rearrange you – not by far.”

“Some things I don’t understand. Some things are scary and sad.  Sometimes I even get bad when I’m mad.  Sometimes I even get glad.  Why does a dog have to bark?  Why does an elephant die?  Why can’t we play all the time in the park?  Why can’t my pussycat fly?  Why, why, why, why, why, why – I wonder why?  Why do big people say, “No!”?  Why are their voices so loud?  Why don’t the witches and bad guys all go?  Why does the sky fly a cloud?  Why does it have to get dark?  Why can’t the day always stay?  Let’s say goodbye to the night time, Goodbye – let’s send the dark time away.  Why do fire engines make noise?  Why is hot water so hot?  Why aren’t live babies like my other toys?  Why do I wonder a lot?  Someday, oh someday, I’ll know what to say.  Someday, oh someday, I’ll not have to say
WHY?”

“If you can’t be pine on the top of a hill be a shrub in the valley but be the best little shrub by the side of a rill – if you can’t be a woods, be a tree.  If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail.  If you can’t be the sun be a star.  It isn’t by size that you win or you fail – be the best of whatever you are.”

“Thank you for the little things – little things that happen every day.  Thank you for those tiny things – tiny things you surely send my way.  Little things for me alone to see, to hear, to touch – important things I care about so much.  Thank you for the smiles I see and the ways I learn from thee each day.  Thank you, God for letting me say I thank you gratefully – thank you for today.”

“Love is people.  Love is people needing people.  Love is people caring for people.  That is love.  Love’s a little child sharing with another.  Love’s a brave man daring to liberate his brother.  Love is people.  Love is people needing people.  Love is people caring for people – that is love.  And though some have costly treasure, it never seems to measure up to people needing people, caring for people, for that’s love.  Love is people.  People love.”

And this perhaps has become my new favorite of Mr. Roger’s songs… When your heart has butterflies inside it, then your heart is full of love.  When your heart feels just like overflowing, then your heart is full of love.  Love is fragile as your tears.  Love is stronger than your fears.  When your heart can sing another’s gladness, then your heart is full of love.  When your heart can cry another’s sadness, then your heart is full of love.  Love is fragile as your tears.  Love is stronger than your fears.  When your heart beats for a special someone, then your heart is full of love.  When your heart has room for everybody, then your heart is full of love.”

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through the eyes and world of Fred Rogers.  Perhaps he saw the world differently.  Perhaps, he came into our lives in a different era.  But the messages he shared continue to have value today – to me, and I hope to you.  In closing, two favorite quotes by Mr. Rogers… enjoy!

“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.”

“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.”

© The Fred Rogers Company – 2018 – All Rights Reserved.

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