Mr. Rogers grew up in the 1930s in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, he did not have a very happy childhood, he suffered from asthma so he was homebound most of the time. He was bullied and laughed at because of his weight, and children of his age called him “Fat Freddy”. So he spent most of his time alone and played with his stuffed animals and toys in his bedroom. Because of this childhood, Mr. Rogers had strong feelings about children and he wanted to give children what they deserved and tell them what they needed to know through Television. In this effort, he made various TV shows for children from 1951 to 2001. In these shows, he relates with children and teaches them about life and its different perspectives through simple words and methods, but these TV shows also guide adults, parents, or guardians that how they should relate to, communicate and teach a child. There are so many lessons in this documentary for parents on how to raise their child to be a better person. I have learned a lot from Mr. Rogers about children, their feelings, how words affect their feeling, and how our simple words can create a big difference in their lives.
The first thing that I noticed is that Mr. Rogers is always smiling while he is on screen talking to children, he gives a very beautiful smile through the camera which shows that he truly cared about each child. It teaches us that we must express our love and care to children, we must show them that we are attentive to them and we truly care for what they have to say.
Mr. Rogers used puppets, songs, and funny characters in his shows, he used very simple and easy words and sentences, so that children can easily understand them. This teaches us that we should use easy and simple words whenever talking to a child, and perhaps we can use funny language and make different funny characters to teach a child about something, just like Mr. Rogers did in his shows. Some may disagree on this point, as they would think that this type of approach makes it difficult for a child to grow up, they might think, a child must be introduced to reality as early as possible so that he can make sense of the people and society around him.
We must keep in mind, as Mr. Rogers said that children have as strong feelings as adults they might now understand our big words. We must consider their feelings, and one of the easiest and most efficient ways to do so is to become a child, feel like a child by remembering what it felt like when we were children. Some people may say that children learn from us, if we act around them like children it will be hard for them to grow up, it will be hard for them to learn all the adult or teenage stuff.
In his speech before the U.S senate subcommittee on communications in 1969 at one point, Mr. Rogers said that if we make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable we will have done a great service. It means that we must teach our children that how to mention and manage their feelings, it urges us to teach children that feeling bad and bad feelings are not entirely a bad thing, we need to teach our children that how to manage their feelings and perhaps turn some negative thoughts/feelings into positive ones. In his speech before the committee, he also said that one of the first things a child learns in a healthy family is trust, which tells us that trust is one of the most important things in childhood. We must provide our children with our ultimate trust, we should never make promises which we can’t keep, at least we should not lie to the children about little things.
Actually, as Mr. Rogers has taught me, trust, love, and respect are the most important and most crucial things that our children need. These are the things that bring them closer to people around them, which can help in creating a vibrant society. Our children are our next generation, what kind of childhood they have is very important as it will play the most important role in their adult life.
Some people might disagree on the point that we should tell children and make them realize that they are special and unique just the way they are, as they might think that it can make them over-confident and they might become lazy and stop working hard. But in my opinion, it is the most beautiful thing that I have learned from Mr. Rogers. I think that we must appreciate our children for the little things they do, we must appreciate them for what they are and make them realize that they are unique and they matter. We must show them that they are loved and respected. I would like to end this blog by quoting Mr. Rogers (these are the words that he used to end his program every night), “you’ve made this day a special day by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you. And I like you just the way you are.”