Simple Life Lessons for a Complex World

A woman exploring her community by bicycle.

While riding my bicycle around town I often feel as if I’m in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood of Make Believe. When I see someone I want to visit with, I can just pull to the curb and chat.  I cycle through alleys and residential streets. I feel connected to my community.

The documentary about Fred Rogers, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” brought me back to a time when my children were young. My life was busier and more complex, but we were living in simpler times.

Mr. Rogers brought life lessons to the Neighborhood of Make Believe; here are a few of his simple teachings worth remembering.

  • Mister Rogers’ neighborhood was a diverse cast of characters who modeled communication so all felt respected and valued such as: Daniel Striped Tiger, Officer Clemmons and Mrs. McFeely.
  • Feelings are part of life and it’s beneficial to feel all our feelings – even the painful and scary ones.  Identifying, naming and exploring them help us to cope with life’s tough situations.
  • It’s important to recognize our feelings but not use them as an excuse. We can experience difficult feelings AND convey them in healthy ways.
  • It takes a neighborhood…to raise a child.  Fred Rogers grasped how children are vulnerable and dependent and how important it is for us to care for them and others. 

Let me know if you get a chance to watch this documentary, I’m curious to know what lessons stood out to you.

Optimism Challenge:

Mister Rogers excelled in displaying healthy optimism. Of the four lessons described in this post, choose one that you’d like to put into practice to stimulate your own optimism.

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