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  • Get to Know Mister Rogers! 8 Pieces of His Timeless and Golden Parenting Advice

    Mister Rogers advocated teaching kids to accept and express their emotions.
    by Kate Borbon .
Get to Know Mister Rogers! 8 Pieces of His Timeless and Golden Parenting Advice
PHOTO BY Mister Rogers Neighborhood on Facebook and @abeautifuldaymovie on Instagram
  • If you ask us about the film we are excited to see this year, it is the one that stars Hollywood actor Tom Hanks, who was recently in Toy Story 4. The movie is called A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and Tom portrays Fred Rogers who helmed the show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

    Not many of you may be familiar with the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2001 in the United States. But throughout its run, it became a widely loved show with both kids and parents.

    Who was Mister Rogers?

    Fred McFeely Rogers, was born in Pennsylvania, U.S.A, on March 1928. According to the Fred Rogers Center website, Rogers had a difficult childhood. He was shy, overweight, and introverted. There were times when he needed to stay home due to asthma. As a result, Rogers felt isolated — both physically and emotionally.

    Rogers’ experience of loneliness and self-doubt helped him become more sensitive and aware of children’s needs and insecurities. When he reached high school, Rogers became more confident and popular. He became an accomplished student and musician and was even elected as student president at his school.

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    Rogers eventually went to college. He first attended Dartmouth University, and after a year, he transferred to Rollins College in Florida, USA, from which he graduated with a degree in music composition. He was also ordained as a minister in the United Presbyterian Church in 1963.

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    During his senior year of college, Rogers arrived at his family’s home and was quickly awed by the newest item in their living room: the television. He recognized the power of this new medium and how he could use it to help and serve children.

    Rogers became famous all over the country when his TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood became a massive hit. He used his background in church ministry and his graduate degree in child development to talk to his audience — primarily preschool-age children — about various topics that parents typically find difficult to discuss, such as death, divorce, and war. The show would also touch on significant events happening at the time.

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    Throughout his career, Rogers not only engaged children and helped them understand their world better but also offered parents valuable pieces of wisdom. As The Washington Post writes, “The root of his wisdom was far more existential and eternal, less about rigid rules to follow and more about what it really means to nurture young life in a complicated world.”

    Nuggets of parenting wisdom from Mister Rogers

    In a world where it seems as if everything — including parenting philosophies — is changing at breakneck speed, it’s always nice to hear advice that instead focuses on how to raise well-rounded kids. Even after he passed away in February 2003, Mister Rogers’ words of wisdom continue to resonate in the hearts of parents all over the world. Here are some of our favorite lessons.

    1. It’s okay to feel sad, angry, or lonely sometimes.

    “Confronting our feelings and giving them appropriate expression always takes strength, not weakness.”

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    In his book The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember, Rogers emphasized the importance of allowing children to face their feelings and express them appropriately, elaborating that doing so is an act of courage. He also felt that letting kids be honest and open about their feelings is a good way to hone their ability to handle those emotions better.

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    2. Be honest.

    “The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.”

    Another remarkable lesson Mister Rogers always encouraged his viewers is being honest and authentic — even when it comes to talking about difficult issues. “He truly believed that kids were inherently smart, and if grown-ups treated them with equal amounts of dignity and honesty, children would thrive,” MSN writes.

    3. Play is important!

    “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”

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    For Mister Rogers, play is a vital part of child development, as it presents children with many opportunities to develop their skills and learn new ones.

    4. Look at the bright side.

    “My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

    It can be easy to get disillusioned with the amount of bad news we hear nowadays, but Mister Rogers encouraged moms and dads to teach their children to pay more attention to the good, just like what he learned from his mother.

    5. Choose always to be kind.

    “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”

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    It can be hard for both children and parents to remain kind, but the payoff will always be worth it.

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    6. Loving means accepting ourselves and others wholeheartedly.

    “To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”

    Here’s another priceless piece of wisdom from his book The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember, which reminds us to accept our uniqueness and that of others and to choose to love no matter what.

    7. The effort is more important than the result.

    “I’m proud of you for the times you came in second, or third, or fourth, but what you did was the best you have ever done.”

    Instead of pressuring kids to strive for perfection, Mister Rogers advised moms and dads to pay more attention to the efforts children give, even if they don’t always succeed.

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    8. Don’t beat yourself up for being an imperfect parent.

    “Some days, doing the best we can may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn’t perfect on any front — and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else.”

    There is no such thing as a perfect mom or dad. Making mistakes now and then is okay, so cut yourself some slack! What’s more important is that you do your best to improve every day.

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