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What We Learned from Mr. Rogers

Memorable quotes from our favorite neighbor

By Rich_Maloof Jun 11, 2012 7:37PM

Mr. Rogers went viral this weekend. How’s that for a sentence you never thought you’d read? Fred McFeely Rogers (1928–2003), the world’s bestest neighbor, makes for an unexpected hero of the Web. And yet there he is, tucked in among the bad news and the LiLo’s and the Madonna’s and the political bickering, making a beeline for the heart with just a quick stop to change his shoes.

Millions have been visiting Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood thanks to PBS Digital Studios’ Garden of Your Mind, a truly masterful mashup produced John D. Boswell, aka melodysheep. Boswell uses wildly intelligent and genuinely inspiring sources for the art form he has mastered, if not created. After PBS tapped him for a tribute to Mr. Rogers, we were reminded of more wise words from the gentle giant in the cardigan.


Whenever there would be any catastrophe in the movies or on the air, [my mother] would say, “Always look for the helpers. There will always be helpers.” If you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there’s hope. “ — TV Legends interview (July 1999)

When I say it's you I like, I'm talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.   — Commencement address at Dartmouth College (June 2002)

The child is in me still and sometimes not so still.    — The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

One of my goldfish died, and I wanted children to know I had feelings about that kind of separation. And while you can’t get that close to a goldfish, it can remind you of something or someone that you were close to you. So that’s why I talked about my dog, Mitzy, and when she died, and how I cried, and how my grandmother comforted me.   — TV Legends interview (July 1999)

“The reason you don't notice your hair growing is that it grows very, very quietly.”   —episode

Would you just take, along with me, 10 seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are?  Those who have cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life. 10 seconds of silence.”    — At the 24th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards (May, 1997), accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award

I like you as you are / Without a doubt or question / Or even a suggestion / ‘Cause I like you as you are.    —Song from the first episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood


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