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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mister Rogers

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I am having a little love affair. With Mister Rogers. I am sure I watched his program when I was a kid, but since I have had children, it has not been broadcast in our area and there are very few episodes available on DVD. So, the show just sorta slid by our radar. Until now. We are able to watch nearly all the episodes on our Amazon Prime account and are rediscovering the good that was that show and man.

This program offers children a safe space to explore their emotions. Mister Rogers offers suggestions and reflections on being scared, being different and even death. His gentle manner reassures children that they are loved and will be ok. His mantra that it is much more important what you are on the inside than the outside seems eerliy absent today. This show might seem sappy and sentimental - but I see my kids' (who are 5, 7 and 9) engaged and repsonding to the message. It speaks to a place inside of them that is not represented in most mainstream kids' media.

Beyond the emotional intelligence of the show, I really appreciate that Mister Rogers is always interested and curious in things. He and other adults are shown playing and experimenting with toys, props and many musical instruments. He is not portarayed as an authoriative adult who is teaching  children, rather he shares things, wonders out loud and encourages the viewer to do so as well.

The show also serves as a reminder to adults to be the best version of themselves. He is kind, considerate, helpful and patient. It is a good day when I can be all that. His consistant message of it being ok "to be just the way you are" is a really important one for parents to keep at the surface. How many times during the day do I find myself not accepting a child's (or my own) intrinsic traits? More often than I care to mention.

Much of television is so mean and low. (Have you read in NutureShock about educational shows and the connection to bullying?). While I do not exactly censor what my children see, or ask to see, I do think it is important to monitor the type of media diet they are fed. Just like I try to feed them organic, whole foods, I want their minds to have mostly the good stuff too. When we are on vacation, there is usually a lot of Sponge Bob watching going on, and we laugh and enjoy the bathroom humor - but it is not something that we feel like we need to see daily. Just like we don't need to eat hot dogs or cotton candy regularly.

Do you monitor the type of shows your family watches? Would you (do you) watch Mister Rogers with your kids?

"All we're ever asked to do in this life is to treat our neighbor-espeically our neighbor who is in need-exactly as we would hope to be treated ourselves. That is our ultimate responsibility." 
Mr. Rogers


  1. Do we ever love Mister Rodgers in this house! We have only the few DVDs but they come into heavy rotation every now and then. I only wish they were all on DVD!

    I do censor what my kids watch, but my kids are younger (3 and 7). We don't do commercials of any kind, and I try to keep it simple and age-appropriate. We watch Peep and the Big Wide World, Little Bear, Busytown, Caillou, and my kids (my son especially) loooove Beakman's World (remember that one?) We don't have cable so it's pretty easy to keep the commercials out in our house. We use Netflix alot, and usually my kids can find something they like.

  2. It seems so much easier these days to really curate what your family watched. With DVR, netflix, redbox, hulu, amazon, not to mention the library!

  3. i so agree!
    the shows today are not as innocent as they used to be.
    for family shows i love: family ties, and cosby family. why don't they make those kinds of family friendly shows anymore?

  4. I watched Mr. Rogers with my children when they were small. I loved that time with them. Back then you could buy an activity book and pamphlets that went with the show. I loved his music and have some of the vinyl albums. He was a great role model for parents. Even today I will watch the occasional episode and think about simpler times. The way he looked at the camera made you feel like you were talking with him.


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