I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who tuned into Mister Rogers' Neighborhood religiously when I was a kid — and I'm also sure I'm not the only one who realized, after I grew up a little, what an amazing person Fred Rogers was himself. Today, it turns out, is Fred “Mister” Rogers' birthday; he was born on March 20, 1928 in Latrobe, PA. Although he's sadly no longer with us — he passed away in 2003 at the age of 74 — he was a lasting influence on generations of children. So today, let's all try to be the person Mister Rogers always knew we could be.
In addition to neat-o crafts, awesome experiments showing us how things work, and fun puppet stories that featured so prominently in the show, (I've always had a soft spot for puppets), the eponymous Mister Rogers also taught us one of the most valuable lessons of all: That he liked us just the way we are. The world of Mister Rogers, his neighborhood, and the Neighborhood of Make-Believe was always a safe place for us — a place where it was not only OK for us to be ourselves, but moreover, where it was celebrated. As we grow older, we often lose sight of this lesson; it's something of which we could all stand to remind ourselves, though, no matter how old we get. I spent a summer studying at Carnegie Mellon University when I was in high school, and to be honest, one of the best parts of the experience was knowing that I was actually living in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
In honor of Mister Rogers' birthday, the denizens of AskReddit have taken to the Internet to share exactly how they're celebrating: By being the best people they can be. Here are 14 highlights; head on over to Reddit to see the whole thread. Warning: It's a tear-jerker (but in a good way).
Happy birthday, Mister Rogers. We like you just the way you are, too.
1. Reach Out to Someone
The original poster of the thread made an excellent point about exactly why this one is so important:
And this Redditor shared a profound story of the difference just one little phone call can make for someone else:
BRB, grabbing some tissues.
2. Help Someone Who Needs It
Does anyone else think the world would be an infinitely better place if we all practiced Rogerism? Here's an example of it in action:
3. Be What You Needed
I think this is why Mr. Rogers hit home for so many of us: He was that guy, and even though we didn't actually know him in real life, the fact that he was out there made a difference for all of us. Let's all go be that person for someone else now.
4. Do Some Well-Wishing
It'll only take you a second, and it'll definitely brighten up someone's day.
5. Make This Vow:
You guys? I am going to spend this entire thread sobbing.
6. Pay It Forward
There will always be people who miss the point of paying it forward — but there's no denying that doing it spreads just a little bit of sunshine in an otherwise dreary world. Like so many of the suggestions here, it only takes a tiny bit of effort, too. So why not just go ahead with it?
7. Let Go Of What You Don't Need
Literally and figuratively. In the literal sense, it might help someone who does need it. In the metaphorical sense, it will help you heal — and maybe help someone else heal, too.
8. Remind Yourself of the Good in the World
We hear so often of all the terrible things, people, and events going on in the world that sometimes, it can be hard to remember that there's goodness mixed in there, as well. It's OK to be cynical — but try not to let yourself become so jaded that you can't see the good stuff as well as the bad. In short:
Also, remember to laugh!
9. Hang Up Your Dang Clothes
Also snuggle up in your favorite cardigan and wear your comfiest pair of sneakers.
10. Give Someone the Benefit of the Doubt
The only thing we can usually ever be sure of is how much we don't know. Instead of leaping to the worst possible conclusion, why not just let it be?
11. Ask Yourself This Question:
The important thing is that you ask it every day. In fact, while we're on the subject...
12. Always Strive to Be Better
And never stop striving.
13. Use Your Imagination
Who cares how old you are? There is always room for an opera starring your cat, a fork, and a spoon.
Here's the speech. I'll just let it do its thing — it doesn't need any help from me to make its point.
Images: PBS; Giphy (4)