I re-watched the video I posted this morning and was inspired to read through one of my favorite books, while sipping my morning coffee. I had been scanning the Hallmark aisle at CVS for the perfect “I love you” card a few summers ago. I was leaving for Europe to travel and study abroad for several weeks. Unfortunately, I had fallen in love right after I bought my plane ticket and, so, it was a little bittersweet that I was leaving the romantic beaches of San Diego. I wanted to give Seth a card that was sweet, but not cheesy. it needed to be meaningful, but not – as my now husband says – “emotional blackmail.” I had looked at various cards, working my way down an aisle of sappy, too-cartoony, and boring cards. Just when I was about to give up, I saw a small, red book with my childhood hero on the cover: The World According to Mister Rogers – Important Things to Remember. I opened it up and started reading through very familiar words.
The rhymes and songs are meant for children; but, I wish I had hung onto them when my days of side ponytails and hopscotch were over. In addition to the works he used on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, there are chapters filled with quotes and words of wisdom that apply to children and adults alike. If only I had had this wisdom when I was French rolling my jeans, covering up acne with horrible pressed powder, learning to lead a team of peers, losing a race, winning a race, going off to a university where I didn’t know a single soul and was majoring in the antithesis of what was me, when I left for the first time to go abroad on my own, and again when I returned. Basically, I wish I had started each of my days growing up by spending a few moments with Mr. Rogers after he had changed cardigans and put on his house shoes. Sure, I figured it all out. We all mature. I had caring parents, mentors, and friends. Still, there’s just this way that Fred Rogers has of wording what is at the crux of what you need to know to accept who you are, grow, and be better to yourself and others. Perhaps what makes Mr. Rogers so much more capable of sharing this advice is his unique level of empathy. His wife, Joanne Rogers, recalls that, when someoen angered her, her husband would say, “But I wonder what was going on in that person’s day.”
Mrs. Rogers pens the foreword and provides a context of who her husband was as a friend and child educator. She writes, “If I were asked for three words to describe him, I think those words would be courage, love, and discipline — perhaps in that very order.” His other outstanding quality, she writes, is that he was kind. These are the lessons this small book is infused with: How to have courage, share love, be disciplined, and be kind.
Inside of its red cover, I found the perfect card:
From the Song
It’s You I Like
It’s you I like,
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair,
But it’s you I like.
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you,
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys, they’re just beside you.
But it’s you I like, every part of you
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
Even when you’re feeling blue
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself, it’s you,
It’s you… I… like!