The World According to Mister Rogers | Notes & Review

Posted on December 28, 2011


Fred Rogers. The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember. Family Communications, Inc., 2003. eBook Edition. (701 locations)

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One of my heroes. This collection is simple, straightforward, frequently a gentle reminder, occasionally a poignant insight, and always kind, and loving; an expression of the very best of what humanity has to offer.

Below are simply my favorite highlights:

FOREWORD BY Joanne Rogers

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much, who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men, and the love of little children, who has filled his niche and accomplished his task, who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul, who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it, who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had, whose life was an inspiration, whose memory a benediction. – Bessie Anderson Stanley

The outside world may have thought his qualities of wisdom and strength came naturally to him, but those close to him knew that he was constantly striving to be the best that he could be. He was as human as the rest of us. (loc.40)

There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story. – Mary Lou Kownacki

The Courage to Be Yourself (loc.106)

Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort. (loc.107)

It’s not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life that ultimately nourish our souls. It’s the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our very being is firm. (loc.147)

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. (loc.161)

I must be an emotional archaeologist because I keep looking for the roots of things, particularly the roots of behavior and why I feel certain ways about certain things. (loc.190)

Little by little we human beings are confronted with situations that give us more and more clues that we aren’t perfect. (loc.205)

The child is in me still . . . and sometimes not so still. (loc.207)

Understanding Love (loc.208)

Deep within us—no matter who we are—there lives a feeling of wanting to be lovable, of wanting to be the kind of person that others like to be with. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving. (loc.211)

Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. (loc.213)

If the day ever came when we were able to accept ourselves and our children exactly as we and they are, then, I believe, we would have come very close to an ultimate understanding of what “good” parenting means. It’s part of being human to fall short of that total acceptance—and often far short. But one of the most important gifts a parent can give a child is the gift of accepting that child’s uniqueness. (loc. 223)

There is only one thing evil cannot stand and that is forgiveness. – William F. Orr

There are many kinds of competition, to be sure. But I think that love does have something to do with them all. In fact, I believe that if we’ve ever wanted someone’s love, then we’ve known what competition really means. (250)

Actor David Carradine, son of John Carradine, said in gratitude of his father’s accomplishments, “I could stand on his shoulders and feel twice as tall.” That each generation could stand on the shoulders of the last and feel twice as tall is a poetic hope for all our families. (loc.274)

You bring all you ever were and are to any relationship you have today. (loc.323)

When we love a person, we accept him or her exactly as is: the lovely with the unlovely, the strong along with the fearful, the true mixed in with the facade, and of course, the only way we can do it is by accepting ourselves that way. (loc.340)

The Challenges of Inner Discipline (loc.343)

What makes the difference between wishing and realizing our wishes? Lots of things, of course, but the main one, I think, is whether we link our wishes to our active work. It may take months or years, but it’s far more likely to happen when we care so much that we’ll work as hard as we can to make it happen. (347)

How great it is when we come to know that times of disappointment can be followed by times of fulfillment; that sorrow can be followed by joy; that guilt over falling short of our ideals can be replaced by pride in doing all that we can; and that anger can be channeled into creative achievements . . . and into dreams that we can make come true! (loc.364)

Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart, and learn to love the questions themselves. – Rainer Maria Rilke

I now know that the space between a person doing his or her best to deliver a message of good news and the needy listener is holy ground. (loc.441)

We Are All Neighbors (loc.457)

When I was very young, most of my childhood heroes wore capes, flew through the air, or picked up buildings with one arm. They were spectacular and got a lot of attention. But as I grew, my heroes changed, so that now I can honestly say that anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me. (loc.501)

Erik Erikson, a psychologist whose insight into human development has been an important foundation of our work here in the Neighborhood, said that “tradition is to human beings what instinct is to animals.” Imagine the chaos if animals lost their instincts. So would it be if human beings were to lose all their traditions. The study of history helps keep traditions alive. When we study how our ancestors dealt with challenges, we can (hopefully) learn from their successes and failures, and fashion our responses to challenges in even more naturally human ways. (loc.526)

Fred Rogers’ Acceptance Speech Television Hall of Fame February, 1999

Fame is a four-letter word; and like tape or zoom or face or pain or life or love, what ultimately matters is what we do with it.

I feel that those of us in television are chosen to be servants. It doesn’t matter what our particular job, we are chosen to help meet the deeper needs of those who watch and listen—day and night!

The conductor of the orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl grew up in a family that had little interest in music, but he often tells people he found his early inspiration from the fine musicians on television.

Last month a thirteen-year-old boy abducted an eight-year-old girl; and when people asked him why, he said he learned about it on TV. “Something different to try,” he said. “Life’s cheap; what does it matter?”

Well, life isn’t cheap. It’s the greatest mystery of any millennium, and television needs to do all it can to broadcast that . . . to show and tell what the good in life is all about.

But how do we make goodness attractive? By doing whatever we can do to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own—by treating our “neighbor” at least as well as we treat ourselves and allowing that to inform everything that we produce.

Who in your life has been such a servant to you . . . who has helped you love the good that grows within you? Let’s just take ten seconds to think of some of those people who have loved us and wanted what was best for us in life—those who have encouraged us to become who we are tonight—just ten seconds of silence.

No matter where they are—either here or in heaven—imagine how pleased those people must be to know that you thought of them right now.

We all have only one life to live on earth. And through television, we have the choice of encouraging others to demean this life or to cherish it in creative, imaginative ways.

On behalf of all of us at Family Communications and the Public Broadcasting Service, I thank you for all the good that you do in this unique enterprise . . . and for wanting our Neighborhood to be part of this celebration. Thank you very much.

Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting, and doing things historians usually record—while, on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry, whittle statues. The story of civilization is the story of what happens on the banks. – Will Durant

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if God and neighbor are somehow One. “Loving God, Loving neighbor”—the same thing? For me, coming to recognize that God loves every neighbor is the ultimate appreciation! (loc.570)

Please think of the children first. If you ever have anything to do with their entertainment, their food, their toys, their custody, their day or night care, their health care, their education—listen to the children, learn about them, learn from them. Think of the children first. (loc.583)

What matters isn’t how a person’s inner life finally puts together the alphabet and numbers of his outer life. What really matters is whether he uses the alphabet for the declaration of a war or the description of a sunrise—his numbers for the final count at Buchenwald or the specifics of a brand-new bridge. (loc.621)

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” (loc.645)