Throughout his adult life, Mr. Rogers weighed exactly 143 pounds. Every day after his swim at the Pittsburgh Athletic club, he would weigh himself and always see 143 pounds. This is not just a guy who obsessed about his weight or had a crazy metabolism. To Mr. Rogers, this was something more symbolic and something that we all need to hear. However, many of us hear it very little. You see, 143 was symbolic in the numerical and alphabetical pairings of I love you. One represents I, four represents love and finally three represents you. In our society, we are always concerned about ourselves leaving very little time for the people we seem to love, and that neglect is starting to sadly effect the next generation of children.
In today’s civilization, technology is raising our kids, and what they are watching on the devices aren’t necessarily educational and nourishing to their malleable and growing minds. While the intent of this article isn’t to demote or punish parents who do let their children use a lot of technology, this should be a catalyst for change in which we raise our kids to be better. They should live a life more with meaning and compassion towards others, not towards a device that cannot express emotions.
While Mr. Rogers’s message of education and compassion was suited towards kids, adults can also learn valuable lessons that will make their lives outstanding even if they feel like the odds are stacked against them. In 1969, as Mr, Rogers was giving his commencement speech to the graduating class at Theil College in Greenville, Pennsylvania, he stated quite simply: “ 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 … It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness, and to provide ways of developing its expression.” We should be lifting each other up instead of disagreeing with each other over not liking a post on Instagram.
Mr. Rogers’s message isn’t outdated, it simply is overshadowed and polluted by social media and parents thinking that that is what their child wants. Our children are the reflection of ourselves, so why don’t we as Mr. Rogers says, “Listen and learn about them, learn from them”. While Mr. Rogers taught and educated children, he also taught the parents lessons. Rogers said, “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.” Let’s face it, we only live once so why ruin it for ourselves, it’s worth the struggle to discover who you really are. We can’t blame social media or bad parenting on children in today’s times, we must force our attention on a system that has gone unchanged for decades, our education system.
One of Mr. Rogers’s main theses throughout his incredible and heartwarming life was that the goal of education must be to help students discover a greater awareness of their own unique selves. We need to let children be able to express themselves and be who they are. When they discover that, we understand them more and are better able to adapt to their needs and wants. With the holidays quickly approaching, instead of buying the latest and greatest toy that will most likely break after two days, why don’t we buy books and start educating our children on topics that they are interested in. This would not only strengthen the bond between parent and child, but it would additionally encourage the child to further pursue their interests in a more critical and in-depth way.
Our kids are our future, so let’s encourage them to be kind towards others and let this history of hatred and racism end in this country. Let’s start a new society of acceptance towards ourselves and others because that would be a world that Mr. Rogers would appreciate.