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Lessons from Mr. Rogers: How his songs relate to healthy parenting

Bill Mulcahy, Head of Lower School

I recently watched Won’t You Be My Neighbor about the life of Fred Rogers. I have written about Mr. Rogers a few times over the years and the impact he had on me as a young child watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Watching the documentary and listening to many of the songs he sang, I was struck by the parallels between the songs and healthy parenting. A few examples are:

  • "Won’t You Be My Neighbor:" A great reminder to children about inclusion. As an ordained Presbyterian minister, the idea of “Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself.”
  • "What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel?:" This reinforces the importance of validating children’s feelings while helping to manage them. 
  • "I’m Taking Care of You:" A nice reminder to children that their parents and other trusted adults are there to support them.
  • "I Like You As You Are:" The theme of unconditional support is addressed.
  • "You’ll Never Go Down the Drain:" This was a personal favorite of mine growing up, as it’s a reminder of how parents can address and alleviate children’s fears, while also dealing with the barrage of hypothetical “what if” questions that we as parents constantly receive.
  • "I’m Proud of You:" A reminder that targeted, positive feedback is critical for healthy child development.
  • "You’ve Got to Do It:" The importance of perseverance is reinforced throughout this song. 

If you want to watch something that will reinforce all that’s good—and for many of you take a walk down memory lane—it’s on Netflix right now and is well worth the watch!