I met my husband Sandy in 1976; I was 17. Believe it or not, we were at Kennedy airport flying out on the same flight. Sandy was ahead of me in line and tells that he asked the agent to seat me next to him. In the 43 years that we have been together, we have missed a few birthdays and general holidays but we have NEVER been apart on New Years eve. Some years have been wild and crazy. Other years have been low key and we have looked at each other long before midnight and said…”somewhere it is already midnight, we don’t need to stay up”, but we have always been together. In those 43 years we have done many things, including raising two wonderful daughters and some epic travel adventures, but we have only been to a movie in the theater just about 43 times.
Sandy generally hates going to movies and agrees to go to one movie a year. If it was important to me, he would go more often. One of the reasons that we work so well together is that I simply go see movies without him. This year, to my surprise he opted to come with me to see the new Mr. Rogers movie with Tom Hanks. Sandy knew that I wanted to see it. I grew up in the real Mister Rogers Neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I ran into Mister Rogers many times at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh where I worked my first job as a nurse. He was as genuine, kind and quirky in real life as he was on TV. Spoiler alert, Sandy did not like the movie all that much (although he loves Mr. Rogers.) I loved it. No surprises there. It is not really directed at young kids, but I thought it told a lovely story about forgiveness, based on a true relationship that Mr. Rogers developed with a somewhat angry reporter many years ago. Tom Hanks was superb, and the Mister Roger’s message shined through.
Here is the post for several years ago. I added a few more worthy quotes.
I first ran this post several years ago when we had a week full of horrible headlines. Unfortunately we are so used to things like mass shootings that we are no longer shocked when awful things happen.
In a previous post about talking to our children about scary situations, I actually quote Mr. Rogers. He shared a lesson that he learned from his own mother: “look for the helpers”. Those might be a person in uniform, or another parent with children. That remains great advice and is one of his more well known pearls of wisdom.
A generation of children grew up better people because of the lessons he taught. Here are some of my favorite pieces of Mr Roger's wisdom:
"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."
“There is only one thing evil cannot stand, and that is forgiveness.'"
"There's a part of all of us that longs to know that even what's weakest about us can ultimately count for something good." It is okay not to be perfect!
“Solitude is different from loneliness, and it doesn't have to be a lonely kind of thing.”
Accept people as they are.
Look and listen carefully.
“We all have feelings.” Talking and acknowledging them is the first step towards finding ways to deal with them that don’t hurt anyone.
Anything that's human is mention-able, and anything that's mention-able 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're not alone.
Wonder about things
“You can’t go down the drain in the bathtub.” Don’t be shy about sharing things that might be scary
“Be yourself.” It is not how you look, what you wear or what toys you have that make you special
What can you grow in the garden of your mind? Use your imagination.
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.
One of the most important things a person can learn to do is to make something out of whatever he or she happens to have at the moment.
"Often out of periods of losing come the greatest strivings toward a new winning streak."
"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else."
"There are times when explanations, no matter how reasonable, just don't seem to help."
"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."
Mr. Rogers was a gift to generations of kids but I wonder if any of my patients know who he is? I believe that Daniel Tiger is making sure that the whisper of his gentle message lives on!