The Good Neighbor : The Life and Work of Fred Rogers


It is said that we are are the sum of the five people we hang out with most. I’ve often wondered if the same could be said about the books (or the types of books) we read. If so, I hope to read a lot more like this one. I can only assume it will make me a better person.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“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.’”

“I want children to know that it’s hard to learn something new, and that grown-ups make mistakes” (pg 9).

“You don’t set out to be rich or famous; you set out to be helpful” (pg 10).

“Nothing can replace the influence of unconditional love in the life of a child . . . Children love to belong, they long to belong” (pg 18).

“His mother was deeply religious, but her life was more joyous. More than anything else, she communicated to her son the rewards of service to others” (pg 38).

“What a difference one person can make in the life of another” (pg 46).

“And now here is my little secret, a very simple secret: It is with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye . . . truth always {comes} from the heart, not from an overintellectualization of life” (pg 50-51).

“The real issue in life is not how many blessings we have, but what we do with our blessings. Some people have many blessings and hoard them. Some have few and give everything away” (pg 72).

“Fred Rogers lived out the conundrum of modern life: embracing technology and using it in imaginative ways to benefit children, while rejecting the dehumanizing aspects of complex technological advancement” (pg 80).

“Rogers later estimated that they had about 150 dollars a week for their show, but that amount was taken up by their salaries. In effect, they had virtually no money to buy or develop programming. All they had was their own imaginations” (pg 94).

“He always felt that actions - kindness, understanding, and openness in relationships - were more important than words” (pg 115).

“All our lives, we rework the things from our childhood, like feeling good about ourselves, managing our angry feelings, being able to say good-bye to people we love” (pg 154).

“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 which 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” (pg 237).

“Children are starving for story, the kind that builds on hope, the kind that echoes for a lifetime. We need story in our lives, not dreams based on greed” (pg 255).

“When I was a boy I used to think that strong meant having big muscles, great physical power; but the longer I live, the more I realize that real strength has much more to do with what is not seen. Real strength has to do with helping others” (pg 323).

“One of the major goals of education must be to help students discover a greater awareness of their own unique selves, in order to increase their feelings of personal worth, responsibility, and freedom” (pg 328).

“How many clothes can you wear? How many cars can you drive? How big of a shelter do you really need? Some people get so caught up in the trappings of life I feel they lose what is real. Deep and simple - that’s what matters” (pg 337).

“I’ve never tried to make a decision that had to do with selfishness” (pg 339).

“Change can - and does - make life better in so many ways. But even when it is delivering improvement, it can be disruptive and unsettling. Inevitably, we look for someone or something to blame: It must be government, interfering with our lives and putting chocks under our wheels. Or we blame the other: those other countries or people or ethnic groups that are not like us and may be competing for advantage” (pg 359).

Podcasts with Fred:

David Newell

Having been with Mr. Rogers Neighborhood since its inception in 1967, David has been the show’s Properties Manager, Associate Producer and Director of Public Relations. David continues to make personal appearances as an ambassador for the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood series.

via Moth Radio Hour

For more one . . .

Education : Reading Log : Fred Rogers