If you’ve received our Reflections emails for awhile, you know how much wisdom and inspiration we get from Mister Rogers.
In addition to reminding us of childhood and demonstrating the power of intention, Fred Rogers also embodied compassion, which is this month’s Holstee theme. One example was in the now-famous episode where he welcomed Jeff Erlanger onto the show.
When Jeff was seven months old, he was diagnosed with a spinal tumor. During a surgery to remove the tumor, Jeff’s nervous system was damaged and he was left as a quadriplegic.
Five years later, just before an important spinal surgery, his parents asked Jeff if there was anything he wanted. Jeff said he wanted to meet Mister Rogers. His sister wrote a letter to the show and incredibly, Mister Rogers agreed to meet the Erlanger family one morning in Wisconsin for breakfast.
Years later, Mister Rogers welcomed Jeff onto the show.
In this video clip, Rogers has an open and honest conversation with Jeff. They sing a variation of the song, “It’s You I Like”:
“It’s you I like,
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair –
But it’s you I like
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you –
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys –
They’re just beside you.
But it’s you I like –
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
Even when you’re feeling blue
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself,
It’s you, it’s you I like.”
A message of understanding, compassion and indiscriminate love.
And a beautiful reminder that we are enough, just the way we are.
I'll end this email the same way Mister Rogers ended every episode:
"There's no person in the whole world like you, and I like you, just the way you are."
P.S. In 1999 when Fred Rogers was being inducted into the TV Hall of Fame, Jeff Erlanger turned up as a surprise guest to welcome him on stage. Speechless, the 71-year-old Rogers leapt on stage and gave Jeff a hug. It’s a beautiful reunion, followed by a thoughtful speech on the responsibility of those in media. Here is the clip. (Get the tissues ready!)
Begin your day feeling grounded and inspired.
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This article is part of our series on the theme of Compassion.EXPLORE Compassion →
Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.VIEW OUR THEMES →