Inside: A message to parents about the important role we are playing in our children’s lives and how we do so imperfectly but beautifully.
An email came in from preschool saying that November 13 was World Kindness Day and that the kids would be celebrating by wearing cardigans and talking about the man synonymous with the word, Mr. Rogers.
While my kids have seen their fair share of Daniel Tiger, I realized they didn’t know the man behind the message. The man who reminded us to look for the helpers, that we were all worthwhile, and that it was okay to cry.
It was time to change that.
It’s You I Like
So I took out my phone and found some classic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. With a kid under each arm, we watched for twelve quiet minutes as Mr. Rogers pulled on his cardigan and then softly sang “It’s You I Like” with his neighbor, Jeffrey.
Around minute 9, my four-year-old son looked up and kissed me on my cheek. My three-year-old daughter turned and did the same. Then they returned to Mr. Rogers without saying a word.
It was like Mr. Rogers was speaking directly to them, and then helped them speak directly to me.
They found comfort and love in his quiet manner and his important message. They are special, they are loved. Just as they are.
So am I.
Just the Way You Are
When I looked online for a Mr. Rogers quote that explained what I was feeling in that moment, and I knew there would be, I found these words.
“Parents are like shuttles on a loom. They join the threads of the past with the threads of the future and leave their own bright pattern as they go.”
This imagery struck a chord. The joining together of beautiful colors to make something new. The best-laid plans turning into happy accidents that are perfectly imperfect, and loved all the more for it.
There will always be times when I feel like I could have done better as a parent. But leave it to Mr. Rogers to remind me that with each word and each action, I am leaving my own bright pattern. Perhaps not a perfect one, but a beautiful one that brings more light to the world.
A pattern my kids love, just the way it is.
We are the Helpers
That was perhaps Mr. Rogers’ most beautiful quality, his ability to help others spread love and kindness. To give us the tools, the encouragement, and the resilience to do so.
In his quiet way, he taught us all the power of our own voices and actions so that his message didn’t stop with him, but lived on and spread like ripples in a pond.
So as my kids slip on their cardigans and sneakers on November 13, I’ll slip on this reminder from Mr. Rogers. As parents, we are the helpers – gifting them with lessons from our past, empowering them to learn their own, and liking our kids just as they are. Our kids are the helpers too – showing us in their small ways that we are liked just as we are too.
Thank you, Mr. Rogers, for being a really amazing neighbor, yesterday, today, and always.