On the 50th anniversary of the first airing of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” writer Anthony Breznican shared on Twitter his encounter with the man in the cardigan himself.
Breznican writes that he’d grown up watching Mister Rogers as a child, but a chance run-in on his college campus brought it back to life. It was a time when Breznican needed a calming influence the most: He shares that college was a tough period for him, but his rediscovery of the show after the death of his grandfather was a calming influence.
So Breznican was stunned to stumble into Fred Rogers himself in an elevator one day, where he imparted some of that classic wisdom in real life.
Rogers shared his own story of loss with the heartbroken young man, about his own grandfather and the gifts he gave him. “You’ll never stop missing the people you love,” Rogers said.
Are you tearing up yet? Here are a few more simple yet profound quotes from the man who was everyone’s neighbor.
On traumatic moments:
“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.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers–so many caring people in this world.”
“I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said ‘yes,’ when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to somebody else.”
On being truly strong:
“Confronting our feelings and giving them appropriate expression always takes strength, not weakness. It takes strength to acknowledge our anger, and sometimes more strength yet to curb the aggressive urges anger may bring and to channel them into nonviolent outlets. It takes strength to face our sadness and to grieve and to let our grief and our anger flow in tears when they need to. It takes strength to talk about our feelings and to reach out for help and comfort when we need it.”
On the preciousness of life and expression:
“As human beings, 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 that 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.”