March 17, 2020
I can still remember as a little girl sitting hours watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. There was something about his calm voice that kept me glued to the television. Mr. Rogers would say, “There is only one person in the whole world like you, and people can like you just because you’re you.” He made you feel special. He also had a natural gift to make what were some of the most difficult or scariest of things seem manageable.
Here are some lessons that are just as important today as they were then:
1. “Whatever is mentionable can be more manageable”. Helping children express their emotions can help manage their feelings. It helps us adults too…
2.“You are special and so is everyone else in this world.” Everyone is special in their own way – the beauty is in finding what makes you and others special.
3.“Did you know that when you wonder, you’re learning?”– Wondering can be the beginning of amazing things. We are surrounded by things all around us that began with a thought.
5. “I like to be told” – Mister Rogers was an advocate for preparing children when faced with moments of fear or anxiety. He would help children learn what to expect when visiting the doctor or the dentist. Telling someone what to expect helps with feelings of anxiety, especially if it’s from someone you love or trust.
6. “Some things I don’t understand”– He wasn’t afraid to talk about difficult things that we face in the world. He gave us permission to accept that some things we just don’t understand. He reminded us not to be afraid of talking about what we are worried or thinking about. Journaling or talking to others can help us all with feelings of anxiety or worry.
So today, as we face this pandemic that is Covid 19, I ask that you stop and use Mr. Roger’s messages of hope as we navigate the next few days. Talk to your kids and encourage them to ask questions. Ignoring feelings do not make them go away. Trying to suppress feelings only help them to get stronger. It’s okay to be scared but we should always have hope.
I have faith that we will get through this together. The people of the United States will come together to fight the fight. Each of us with our unique talents will help us all make it through.
I have faith that we will prevail and be stronger and closer because of it.
Illness knows no color, race, religion or culture. Illness does not discriminate. We are in this together and we will get through it together.
So as we face the coming days, remember to keep looking for the helpers. They are always there.
Elizabeth Vainder, M.D.
-Quotes courtesy of misterrogers.org