An email came in from preschool saying that November 13 was World Kindness Day and that the kids would be celebrating by wearing cardigans and talking about the man synonymous with the word, Mr. Rogers.
While my kids have seen their fair share of Daniel Tiger, I realized they didn’t know the man behind the message. The man who reminded us to look for the helpers, that we were all worthwhile, and that it was okay to cry.
So I took out my phone and found some classic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. With a kid under each arm, we watched for twelve quiet minutes as Mr. Rogers pulled on his cardigan and then softly sang “It’s You I Like” with his neighbor, Jeffrey.
Around minute 9, my four-year-old son looked up and kissed me on my cheek. My three-year-old daughter turned and did the same. Then they returned to Mr. Rogers without saying a word.
It was like Mr. Rogers was speaking directly to them, and then helped them speak directly to me.
That was perhaps Mr. Rogers most beautiful quality, his ability to help others spread love and kindness. To give us the tools, the encouragement, and the resilience to do so. In his quiet way, he taught us all the power of our own voices and actions so that his message didn’t stop with him, but lived on and spread like ripples in a pond.
There will always be times when I feel like I could have done better as a parent. But leave it to Mr. Rogers to remind me that with each word and each action, I am leaving my own bright pattern. Perhaps not a perfect one, but a beautiful one that brings more light to the world. A pattern my kids love, just the way it is.
So as my kids slip on their cardigans and sneakers on November 13, I’ll slip on this reminder from Mr. Rogers and thank him for being a really amazing neighbor, yesterday, today, and always.