I remember as a kid watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and hoping that I never had to wear red cardigan sweaters or change my shoes so often when I became an adult. But for all of Fred Rogers’ habitual routines, he put out a solid message during his many years on the air that is just as applicable today as it was in his time.
Perhaps the most important message he wanted kids to know is the one he always ended his shows with:
You always make each day a special day. You know how: By just your being you/yourself. There’s only one person in the (whole) world that’s like you, and that’s you. And people can like you just/exactly the way you are.
Sadly kids today get the opposite message. It’s not who you are that counts, it’s what you do. This in part has led to the Race to Nowhere and kids having to be constantly in motion, always doing things.
As parents we need to also take Mr. Rogers’ message to heart and realize how much of our behavior – our doing – is motivated by our ego and wanting the world to like us for what we do. If we cannot escape the doing trap, we will be hard pressed to teach our kids they have value just being who they are right now.