It's been 10 years since Fred Rogers went to heaven. Yet the legacy of lessons and truths and love he left behind live on in our hearts and neighborhoods. He is a personal hero of mine for his gentle strength, tenacity, and kindness. I would love to know how many lives he's saved in his simple assertion, "I like you just the way you are."
Here are some of my favorite quotes and the lessons they continue to teach me:
"It's not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life which 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 good stuff."
Character is more important than accolades. If I am good in my core, it will shine through brighter than any medals or awards. I need to be of better character and more trustworthy.
"The kingdom of God is for the broken hearted."
I won't arrive in heaven without skinned knees and bruised egos. Life is for working out my salvation, and sometimes that gets messy.
"I hope you're proud of yourself for the times you've said 'yes,' when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to someone else."
I need to remember the joy I feel when I sacrifice or do something strictly for someone else.
"Love and trust, in the space between what's said and what's heard in our life, can make all the difference in the world."
This is a very profound statement. It is more complex than it seems on the surface. So often when someone says something to me, I throw it into a dark room with my baggage and what I hear is something entirely different. I need to love and trust more and dramatize less.
"Whether we're a preschooler or a young teen, a graduating college senior or a retired person, we, human beings, all want to know that we're acceptable, that our being alive somehow makes a difference in the lives of others."
I think one of the greatest contributions I can make in the life of another is to let them know that they matter to me; that knowing them makes a difference in my life.
"If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person."
I need to use my words and time more judiciously and make my time with others really count. The little bit of myself that I leave with them should be pleasantly remembered.
"Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me."
I don't really think there is anything I can add to this simple statement except that I need to do more for my children and grandchildren and any child I meet.
"There is no normal life that is free of pain. It's the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth."
I know that the times I've experienced the most growth have been born of the most pain. I need to remember that, accept my trials and grow from them so that they aren't wasted. I need to use them as a springboard for success.
"Part of the problem with the word disabilities is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can't feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren't able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities."
When I think about this, I think of those I have known, myself included, who, for whatever reason, temporarily shut down and wouldn't accept anyone in their life because of the pain caused by someone entirely different. The love we deny ourselves is true disability.
"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."
There is nothing I can add to this. It is pure truth.