What Mr. Rogers Can Teach You About Acceptance


Millions of children grew up watching Mr. Rogers on television. Many more fans of all ages had a chance to think about his message, thanks to the recent HBO documentary and feature film about him. 

He’s famous for his cardigan sweater and sneakers. More importantly, he spread a message about accepting yourself and loving your neighbors. 

If you want to feel happy and connected, imagine yourself living in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Look through this list of lessons from his show and remember your own favorite moments. 

Lessons from Mr. Rogers on Accepting Yourself 

Mr. Rogers wrote a whole song about why you are special. Remember that you are the only one like you in this wonderful world. 

Try these strategies to become more accepting of yourself: 

1. Embrace your feelings. It’s natural to want to escape from difficult emotions, but facing the truth is more constructive. Acknowledging your anger or fear gives you a chance to address the underlying causes. 

2. Appreciate silence. While dead air might lead to panic on most television shows, Mr. Rogers knew that it was important to pause sometimes. Being quiet allows you to look inside yourself and figure out what you really think. 

3. Slow down. You miss things when you’re rushing around. The traffic light in Mr. Roger’s neighborhood was permanently set on yellow to remind us to take our time. 

4. Create art. Music and puppet shows were two of the methods that Mr. Rogers used to talk about feelings. He also said that drawing made him feel good even if he wasn’t very skillful. Find creative projects that help you to relax and express yourself. 

5. Buy less. Value yourself for who you are rather than what you own. Instead of advertising expensive toys, Mr. Rogers taught you how to make your own fun. 

6. Be authentic. In spite of wild rumors about being a Navy SEAL or circus performer, Mr. Rogers was much the same person on screen and off. Be true to your own values and dreams. 

7. Keep growing. While you’re worthy of love as you are now, there’s still room for further development. Continue gaining new knowledge and skills. 

Lessons from Mr. Rogers on Loving Your Neighbor 

Mr. Rogers wasn’t just thinking about the family that lives next door. He invited each of us to be his neighbor. 

These ideas will help you build excellent neighborly skills: 

1. Help others. Mr. Rogers gave his mother credit for telling him to look for the helpers when something scared him. Be a helper yourself by reaching out to someone in need.Volunteer in your community and offer to do yard work for an elderly neighbor. 

2. Resolve conflicts. You can still have disagreements even when you treat others with love and respect. Be willing to compromise. Look for solutions that will satisfy both sides. 

3. Speak Freddish. Mr. Roger’s staff invented their own name for the language he used with children. Some of his advice works for any age. Speak clearly to avoid misunderstandings and try to maintain a positive tone. 

4. Listen closely. Paying attention to what others have to say is another way of showing you care. Make eye contact and validate their feelings. 

5. Address sensitive issues. Taking care of yourself and your relationships requires talking about challenging subjects. Mr. Rogers devoted many shows to topics like death, divorce, and nuclear war. Prepare for difficult conversations by seeking common ground and focusing on making positive changes. 

6. Be kind. Pennsylvania honored Mr. Rogers with the First Annual Day of Kindness on May 23. You can live like Fred by spreading your own acts of compassion and generosity. 

Mr. Rogers was right. It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood when you accept yourself and love your neighbor. 

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