He's gone. But his legacy is getting stronger.
We can live in Mister Rogers' neighborhood. We can do it. Just listen to me talk about everything he did that was so cool. Volcanoes of cool.
I looked into the lessons he was trying to teach us, and I think I found some things we just might need. Let's begin!
Lesson 1: Be the Mister Rogers you wish to see in the world.
Think: What would Mister Rogers do? Then do that. This is the most simple and most difficult of all the lessons.
Lesson 2: Know that scary things are there. And talk about it.
For example. If you are worried you might go down a drain, Mister Rogers has you.
"The rain may go down,
But you can't go down.
You're bigger than any bathroom drain.
You can never go down
Can never go down
You can never go down the drain."
Lesson 3: Talk about your feelings. If you know what to do with your feelings, you can do anything.
Mister Rogers went to Congress to talk about his feelings.
He was like, "By the way guys, people can't deal with their feelings and they're hurting each other."
And then he straight up was like, "Hey congressmen, can I sing you a song?"
And he did.
Lesson 4: Dress down! The only thing that matters is who you are inside anyway.
It's OK to be comfortable.
Here's some more of his beautiful song:
"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."
Back to the lessons.
Lesson 5: It's good to be curious and imagine new things.
Remember when he took you to the crayon factory? No one questions how crayons are made because Mister Rogers changed your life when he showed you how your favorite writing utensil came to be.
Mister Rogers was ready to learn, he was curious, and he thought that, like, EVERYTHING was interesting.
Even cassette players!
(Yes. That is what cassette players looked like!)
Best question ever, right here:
Get out of your life and into your mind. It's called imagining.
Lesson 6: Remember the helpers in our world.
Maybe even be one of the helpers. Feel the feelings.
Lesson 7: Like other people. Like yourself!
"I'm just so proud of all of you who have grown up with us, and I know how tough it is some days to look with hope and confidence on the months and years ahead. But I would like to tell you what I often told you when you were much younger: I like you just the way you are." — Mister Rogers
Lesson 8: Remember that everyone is your neighbor. I mean everyone.
Imagine if we lived in a world where we realllllllly thought that everyone was reallllly our neighbor.
That's Mister Rogers' world.
People from Ferguson.
People from halfway around the world.
People on your street! (Your literal neighbors!)
Sing me your song, Mister Rogers.
"So, let's make the most of this beautiful day. Since we're together we might as well say: Would you be mine? Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?"
We can live in this neighborhood. How about we grow that idea in the garden of our minds?
Mister Rogers taught us a special thing about ideas in the gardens of our minds.
All you have to do is think, and they'll grow.
Happy birthday, Mister Rogers. And thank you.
FOR EVERYTHING. And your special songs. :)