Ten Brilliant Things Mister Rogers Said

Fred "Mister" Rogers, Late 1960s
This world needs light; the light of love to pierce the darkness of hate; light like Mister Rogers.

Mister Rogers shined a light in a network of darkness. And he succeeded where so many others failed because he was genuine. The light was not a front. It was not just words. It shone from his soul.



“I think the young feel pressured by the older generation. But I realized it isn’t just the older generation doing the pressuring. Young people are pressuring older people to change too, and it can make us feel uncomfortable. But it isn’t all bad either.

I know how much I learned from my parents and teachers, and now I know for sure that I’m learning from my children and the young people I work with.

I don’t do everything they want me to do, and they don’t do everything I want them to do, but we know down deep we’d really be impoverished if we didn’t have each other.”



“Love is at the root of everything – all learning, all relationships – love or the lack of it.”



“In order to express our sense of reality, we must use some kind of symbol: words or notes or shades of paint or television pictures or sculpted forms. None of those symbols or images can ever completely satisfy us because they can never be any more than what they are — a fragment of a reflection of what we feel reality to be.”



“You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.”



“Deep within us — no matter who we are — there lives a feeling of wanting to be lovable, of wanting to be the kind of person that others like to be with. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving.”



“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”



“When I was in college, I went to New York to talk to a songwriter I admired very much. I took him four or five songs that I had written and I thought he’d introduce me to Tin Pan Alley and it would be the beginning of my career. After I played him my songs, he said, ‘You have very nice songs. Come back when you have a barrelful.’

A barrelful of songs! That would mean hundreds of songs. I can still remember the disappointment I felt as I traveled all the way back to college. Nevertheless, that man’s counsel was more inspired than I realized. It took me years to understand that. But, of course, what he knew was that if I really wanted to be a songwriter, I’d have to write songs, not just think about the five I had written. And so, after the initial disappointment, I got to work; and through the years, one by one, I have written a barrelful.

In fact, the barrel’s overflowing now, and I can tell you, the more I wrote, the better the songs became, and the more those songs expressed what was real within me.”



“Erik Erikson, a psychologist whose insight into human development has been an important foundation of our work here in the Neighborhood, said that ‘tradition is to human beings what instict is to animals.’

Imagine the chaos if animals lost their insticts. So would it be if human beings were to lose all their traditions.

The study of history helps keep traditions alive. When we study how our ancestors dealt with challenges, we can (hopefully) learn from their successes and failures, and fashion our responses to challenges in even more naturally human ways.”



“The purpose of life is to listen — to yourself, to your neighbor, to your world, and to God, and when the time comes, to respond in as helpful a way as you can find…from within and without.”



“One of the greatest dignities of humankind is that each successive generation is invested in the welfare of each new generation.”

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