Mr. Rogers, We Need You More Than Ever

Our children are growing up way too fast.  And when I say that I don't mean they are growing up too fast as in days, I mean as in becoming more apathetic, resistant to simpler things in life and becoming miniature adults too soon.  Too often do we see 10 year olds dressing and acting like they are 16.  Too often do I hear a 7 year old say something such as action figures and dolls are "for babies."  When did having your own phone, computer or Facebook account at 9 become the norm? 

We have got to slow down with all of this because if we don't, we are just exchanging our childhood innocence for Uncle Grandpa and SpongeBob.  I don't know about you, but I would much rather my kids have the values and respect that Mr. Rogers demonstrated than the screaming, disrespectful idiots that we invite into our living rooms every day. 

I think we should all try to remember the lessons and values of Mr. Rogers and we should be passing those onto our own children.  The challenge to myself and to others:

1.  Think before you speak to a child. 

2.  Be deliberate in your message. 

3.  Provide encouragement.

4.  BE a good role model. 

5.  Listen to them.  Talk to them.  Ask them about their day.  Ask them what was their favorite part or a part that wasn't so fun.

6.  Tell them you are proud of them.  Even if it's that you are proud that they used good manners or did a chore without being told, give them something to be proud of every day.

7.  Encourage them to use their imagination.  This may require unplugging them from the screen for a while but imagination and play is how young children learn about the world.  They need it. 

8.  Encourage them to self monitor their own behavior and feelings.  Teach them to follow the Golden Rule.

9.  Teach them what it means to be respectful and kind.

10.  Show them how they are part of a global community beyond their own doorstep.  Show them how kindness within the community helps other people.  Teach them to share kindness.

11.  Provide them with responsibility.  Children of all ages can participate in helping others.  They can help empty the trash, pick up their toys, or feed the dog.

I think if we all tried a little harder to take a more deliberate approach to interacting with children, like Mr. Rogers did, we could see huge changes in our society and communities...maybe even our neighborhoods.

 

"We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say, 'It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.' Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes."

—Fred Rogers, 1994

quoted in his obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

If you enjoyed Mr. Rogers, We Need You More Than Ever, check out Dalai Mama at the blog, on Facebook and Twitter

 

photo credit: Matt Bargar via photopin cc

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