TV’s Mr. Rogers told a generation of children they were all special. Did he ruin these kids by giving them an unrealistic and inflated view of their own self-importance?

Some people seem to think so.

Really?

Could this gentle advocate for children be to blame for all the coddling and free food that seems to be necessary to keep the new generation interested enough to suit up and show up for work?

Feels like a heavy accusation to make about a man who advocated equality for all…who was a Christian republican who pushed compassion for all people of all ages, religions … and of all colors.

Some anti-fans called him out for his gentleness. They perceived him as not being manly enough.

The thought-provoking documentary, “WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR”is about the career and influence of MR. (FRED) ROGERS..

ROGERS had a magical ability to talk to little children in a way they could understand about some very serious adult concerns. Feeling respected, along with feeling loved, secure and praised are solid building blocks for good self-esteem.

I learned so much from MR. ROGERS… but he wasn’t perfect either.

Maybe it was because his audience was so young, that less emphasis seemed to be placed on the importance of gaining competence.

Don’t get me wrong. I find nothing objectionable about telling  three and four-year-olds that they are special. They are special. And besides, they are adorable.

What is in question is what it also takes then, to best raise kids over time, to become functional adults.

THINK ABOUT THIS

  • That feeling special, loved and secure is a perfect foundation
  • But that personal achievement and mastery remains the best self-esteem builder.
  • That over-praising kids can do more harm than good… once they pass five or six.
  • How de-motivating it can be to hear that WHATEVER you do is “perfect,“”
  • That in real life, becoming good at things requires work and frustration and delayed gratification.
  • THAT IF YOUR CHILD REALLY WANTS TO BE SPECIAL, HE/SHE IS GOING TO HAVE TO PROVE IT.
  • That being special mostly comes from working hard and having high personal expectations.
  • That adults have a responsibility to model adult behavior… for the love of a child.

Call me Pollyana but I aspire to live in a Mr. Rogers-like world where people are kind and loving to one another.

Going forward, we need new media programming for kids of all ages. We’d do well  to stand on the shoulders of this inspiring man who gave so much of himself.


Thanks For Visiting,

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

AvatarBob BorthwickAugust 12, 2018 at 10:55 am

Hi Linda, this is Bob…I LOVED this film!!! So many scenes got me choked up in a good way, like the foot washing scene and the interview with that same man about feeling loved by Mr Rogers. The interview of the child in the wheelchair had me sobbing in a good way (I have to keep adding in a good way because I am so used to people equating crying with sadness). The film was pure beauty for me start to finish. Anyway loved your comments and agree 100%. PS Hope all is well with you and family and healing is underway. Sending our love.

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