Article image

20 Life Lessons From Mister Rogers

Before there was Blippi and Blue’s Clues, there was Mister Rogers, aka Fred McFeely Rogers, the host of the eponymous children’s television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Rogers was the sort of TV host that both kids and parents trusted and enjoyed.

Known for his calm demeanor, friendly attitude, and astute life lessons, Rogers established himself as an icon for the more than three decades that the PBS show aired. He began each episode by changing into one of his trademark cardigan sweaters and slipping on some sneakers while singing the show’s theme song, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” And he concluded each episode with the song “Tomorrow.”

The series ran for 31 seasons, from 1968 through 2001. On the show, Rogers dispensed timeless wisdom about how to be kind to others, how to feel good about yourself, and what to do when you’re up against your worst fears.

He used everything from puppets to songs to chats with friendly neighborhood pals to teach kids about the importance of empathy and compassion, encouraging his young viewers to dream big, explore the world, and above all else, be kind. Here, we’ve rounded up 20 of Rogers’ most memorable quotes,  reminders of the good old days of turning on the TV and spending an afternoon in the neighborhood.

On Kindness

All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors — in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.

Share Quote

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.

Share Quote

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.”

Share Quote

Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.

Share Quote

On Love

​​Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like “struggle.” To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.

Share Quote

Everyone longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving.

Share Quote

Listening is where love begins: listening to ourselves and then to our neighbors.

Share Quote

I don’t think anyone can grow unless he’s loved exactly as he is now, appreciated for what he is rather than what he will be.

Share Quote

Mutual caring relationships require kindness and patience, tolerance, optimism, joy in the other's achievements, confidence in oneself, and the ability to give without undue thought of gain.

Share Quote

On Healing

Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love. Like all of life's important coping skills, the ability to forgive and the capacity to let go of resentments most likely take root very early in our lives.

Share Quote

​​There is no normal life that is free of pain. It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth.

Share Quote

When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.

Share Quote

On Living Life to Its Fullest

It’s not so much what we have in this life that matters. It’s what we do with what we have.

Share Quote

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.

Share Quote

It’s good to be curious about many things.

Share Quote

You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.

Share Quote

On Individuality

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.

Share Quote

We all have different gifts, so we all have different ways of saying to the world who we are.

Share Quote

It’s really easy to fall into the trap of believing that what we do is more important than what we are. Of course, it’s the opposite that’s true: What we are ultimately determines what we do!

Share Quote

The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.

Share Quote

Featured image credit: PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive/ Alamy Stock Photo

Author image
About the Author
Joyce Chen
Joyce Chen is a writer, editor, and community builder based in Seattle, Washington.
Play more header background
Play more icon
Daily Question
Who wrote, "May you have a strong foundation, when the winds of changes shift"?

More Inspiration

happiness theme icon

It is not worthy of a human being to give up.

separator icon
Alva Myrdal
motivation theme icon

The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.

separator icon
Havelock Ellis
hope theme icon

Your passions should fit you exactly but your purpose in life should exceed you.

separator icon
Kevin Kelly
love theme icon

It is only after the deepest darkness that the greatest joy can come.

separator icon
Malcolm X
wisdom theme icon

The best way to lift one's self up is to help someone else.

separator icon
Booker T. Washington
happiness theme icon

The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.

separator icon
Louisa May Alcott
motivation theme icon

I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

separator icon
Sarah Williams
hope theme icon

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.

separator icon
Martin Buber
love theme icon

Nothing succeeds like success. Get a little success, and then just get a little more.

separator icon
Maya Angelou
wisdom theme icon

If you need something from somebody, always give that person a way to hand it to you.

separator icon
Sue Monk Kidd
happiness theme icon

That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great.

separator icon
Willa Cather