10 Parenting Lessons From Mister Rogers That Will Truly Never Expire
Mr. Fred Rogers was a national treasure, and his influence continues to impact the generations of us that were lucky enough to grow up with him and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Whether you watched the cardigan-wearing host every single day or discovered him through reruns or the revamped cartoon version of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, there's no denying the man's ability to connect with children on a very beautiful and innocent level. But while his main focus was entertaining and educating children, he also taught parents valuable lessons on how to talk to and encourage our kids. Keep reading for 10 parenting lessons I learned from Mr. Rogers as a kid and have carried with me into motherhood.
How to Console Children During Times of Tragedy
Mr. Rogers famously advocated for parents and caregivers to be honest with children when tragedy struck, which is perfectly reflected in one of his most famous quotes: "My mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world."
It's relevant, especially in today's world, to foster children's perspective when bad things arise, and to teach them to pay attention to the good that's being done instead.
Accept Your Kids For Who They Are
Mr. Rogers championed for children to be loved exactly as they are, without any conditions attached. His simple philosophy shined through every time he sang the beautiful lyrics, "It's you I like. It's not the things you wear. It's not the way you do your hair. But it's you I like, the way you are right now, the way down deep inside you. Not the things that hide you. It's you I like."
Be Compassionate to Your Children
Instead of focusing on being right or strict, Mr. Rogers supported the notion of being kind before anything else. "There are three ways to ultimate success. The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind."
How to Deal With Milestones and Endings
Parenting can often mean reaching milestones filled with mixed emotions. Mr. Rogers understood that bittersweet feeling very well and offered comfort in knowing that something even better was right around the corner. Mr. Rogers said, "Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else."
Teach Your Kids to Be Learners
Mr. Rogers emphasized the importance of teaching children how to love learning. He advocated for letting children learn freely so that they may explore and discover life lessons through small and large adventures. He said, "The more you learn, the better feeling you have about yourself and the world we live in."
Let Your Children Pursue Their Passions Freely
Mr. Rogers was definitely thinking outside the box way before the rest of the world. He said, "The thing I remember best about successful people I've met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they're doing, and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they're doing, and they love it in front of others." Instead of pigeonholing your child into the expectations of what you want, allowing children to freely pursue their passions will help cultivate them into more well-rounded grown-ups.
Be Authentic When Talking to Children
Mr. Rogers advocated for the groundbreaking parenting philosophy to always be authentic and truthful when talking to children. He truly believed that kids were inherently smart, and if grown-ups treated them with equal amounts of dignity and honesty, children would thrive.
Teach Kids to Take Care of Each Other
Mr. Rogers spent his entire life serving others, so it's no surprise that he was also a big proponent of teaching children how to take care of each other. He said, "Real strength has to do with helping others."
Big Emotions Are OK
Mr. Rogers never shied away from talking about big emotions like anger and sadness. He felt that allowing children to talk honestly about difficult feelings only enhanced their ability to manage those "big" feelings better.
Encourage Children to Be Themselves
Mr. Rogers believed it was crucial to teach children about the gift of uniqueness. He understood the pressures of trying to fit in but always championed the belief that it was our differences that made us so special. He said, "As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has — or ever will have — something inside that is unique to all time. It's our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression."