All our lives, we rework the things from our childhood, like feeling good about ourselves, managing our angry feelings, being able to say goodbye to people we love.
All life events are formative. All contribute to what we become, year by year, as we go on growing. As my friend the poet Kenneth Roch once said, “You aren’t just the age you are. You are all the ages you ever have been.”
Please thing of the children first. If you ever have anything to do with their entertainment, their food, their toys, their custody, their day or night care, their health care, their education - listen to the children, learn about them, learn from them. Think of the children first.
More and more I’ve come to understand that listening is one of the most important things we can do for one another. Whether the other be an adult or a child, our engagement in listening to who that person is can often be our greatest gift. Whether that person is speaking or playing or dancing, building or singing or painting, if we care, we can listen.
A high school student wrote to ask, “What was the greatest event in American history?” I can’t say. However, I suspect that like so many “great” events, it was something very simple and very quest with little or no fanfare (such as someone forgiving someone else for a deep hurt that eventually changed the course of history). The really important “great” things are never center stage of life’s drama’s; they’re always “in the wings.” That’s why it’s so essential for us to be mindful of the humble and the deep rather than the flashy and the superficial.
When I was very young, most of my childhood heroes wore capes, flew through the air, or picked up buildings with one arm. They were spectacular and got a lot of attention. But as I grew, my heroes changed, so that now I can honestly say that anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.
If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.
The thing I remember best about successful people I’ve met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they’re doing…and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they’re doing, and they love it in front of others.
Excerpts taken from The World According to Mr. Rogers by Mr. Rogers