The genuine love Mr. Rogers exuded in his shows starting in the early 1960’s, and afterward in the documentary about his life, should be examined, practiced on oneself, then used in all relationships to bring about the change we so desperately need all over this world. Why? Because you will find every human does, and will continue to thrive with descriptive words implying special, respectful, good, caring……….. whether one has been judged by others to have reached these milestone human acts. Mr. Rogers was called an evil being of his generation for calling children special without them having to “do” anything special. It was stated that he was part of the ruining of his generation as calling children virtuous names, allowing them to claim goodness without doing “good” things was destructive.
Sadly, we still feel this way decades after the classic Mr. Rodgers TV show. While recently presenting to educators the great emotional, physical and educational success that is guaranteed to thrive with anyone when they are told every day they ARE SPECIAL, and good, and respectful……..I was still asked the destructive questions – “how do I call a child respectful when they do not know what the word means.” And “how do I call children respectful who are so disrespectful?”
Simply answered – Firstly, all children are judged by adults to have, or not to have, the virtuous qualities we spend years training them to be – BE helpful, BE co-operative – and one adult will judge a child differently from another. What I feel is respectful is different from what you will feel of the same word. So, to call/label a child disrespectful, therefore creating the situation where he/she will never be called respectful, is personal and subjective. If you feel a child is NOT respectful, and I feel he/she is, what label does that child carry through much of their life? Secondly – how does a child learn what being “respectful” is if the adult does not take a moment of each day to point out something they have done that is respectful? To hear the phrase – “if I call them respectful, they will think they are,” is exactly what we want – children who feel respectful therefore will act respectful!
Here is something to start tomorrow - include the message Mr. Rogers expressed after every show – -”You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you; and I like you just the way you are.”
Please note the next post that explains activities that change this centuries-long destructive thinking. And please remember we create moral, respectful, caring children when they are told they are “all you need to be!”