Book Review: Life’s Journey According to Mister Rogers: Things To Remember Along the Way (Fred Rogers)

Book Review: Life’s Journey According to Mister Rogers: Things To Remember Along the Way (Fred Rogers)

Life’s Journey According to Mister Rogers – Things to Remember Along the Way (by Fred Rogers)

Who Couldn’t Use Advice From Mister Rogers?

Seriously? Who couldn’t use advice from Mister Rogers every so often. We all grew up on him. (Unless your like 15 or something reading this.) Even my oldest two daughters know him (14 and 12). He was everyone’s favorite neighbor; he was America’s neighbor. Was, and still is, one of the biggest influences on most people’s lives and they don’t even know it.

So I ask again, who couldn’t use advice from Mister Rogers now and again? Just harken back to the time as a small child, sitting there watching him come in through the door, asking us all “Won’t you be my neighbor?”. The man was simplicity, the man was gentleness, the man was kindness, the man was Buddhist lovingkindness. The man was the Uncle, the father, the neighbor, that we all wanted. He was wise like a sage and as gentle as a monk.

Too little do we think about the wisdom he espoused when we were kids; especially now as grownups. As adults with our busy lives that has us running to and fro, scurrying about like mice in the dark with no lights on. Sadly, we’ve all moved away from the little things he imparted on us – love, kindness, respect, gentleness, compassion, empathy, understanding, listening. And we’ve moved on to – busy, money, work, status, importance, etc.

I know personally I’d trade being busy, working, looking important, and status for passion, empathy, kindness, compassion, and understanding every day of the week.

Life’s Journey

Fred Roger’s wife does a good job with writing the prologue. Discussing their dynamic as a couple, saying how she needed to work at the piano, and how it was her form of creativity. You can see in her how much of his thoughts and empathy and philosophy comes through. The two clearly fed on each other for much, despite as she says, “we gave each other our space”. One of the most poignant things, is her discussing how she still hears him even though ‘he’s no longer in sight’, and then later in the book when we read his poem about not seeing people but still loving them and being with them in spirit, even when they ‘completely move on from sight’.

This book has so much to teach us about going through our own journeys through life. Mainly – how everyone’s is different. He talks about a very well educated man who left seminary school to instead become head of a department store, and how some people said he missed his calling, but was then later checked in on; but he wasn’t there at his work, so the man talked to his co-workers, and they talked about how great he was, how he changed the work culture at the department store, etc; and Rogers says to the effect – ‘and he ended up right where he needed to be’.

Book Review

GoodReads Blurb:

An inspiring collection of thoughts to take with us on the paths we travel in life.

For all the roads we choose to travel, and even those we don’t, Fred Rogers has an observation, a story, some insights to share. Whether you’re facing graduation, a new job, a new baby, marriage, any change in your life–expected or not–the wisdom that Mister Rogers offers can contribute mightily to the grace with which you handle the change.

With sections titled Who You Are Right Now, Loving and Being Loved, and Guided Drift, Fred addresses the scope of human transitions. It all comes down to knowing we’re valuable, and that we’re worthy of that value. As Fred would say, “You don’t have to be anything more than who you are right now.”

In her Foreward, Joanne Rogers shares the Fred she knew. With stories from their life together, the joys as well as the struggles, Joanne shows how Fred looked at life as a journey–with the ups and downs and in-betweens.

Known as “America’s favorite neighbor,” Fred Rogers dedicated his life to serving children through public television as creator, composer, writer, puppeteer, and host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He studied at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Child Development and was ordained a Presbyterian minister, with the unique charge of working with children and families through television. Fred Rogers’ relentless commitment to all that is best in people led to an astonishing array of honors, from induction into the Television Hall of Fame to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Fred Rogers passed away in February 2003.

Family Communications, Inc. (FCI), founded by the late Fred Rogers in 1971 to produce Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and related projects, continues to expand its reach through early childhood trainings, publishing, and new technologies–perpetuating the values and philosophy of its founder.

GoodReads: Life’s Journey (Fred Rogers)
Fred Rogers (photo courtesy of Wikipedia) (see link below)

Wikipedia’s quick opening summary of Mister Rogers:

Fred McFeely Rogers (March 20, 1928 – February 27, 2003), also known as Mister Rogers, was an American television host, author, producer, and Presbyterian minister.[1] He was the creator, showrunner, and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2001.

Born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, Rogers earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Rollins College in 1951. He began his television career at NBC in New York, returning to Pittsburgh in 1953 to work for children’s programming at NET (later PBS) television station WQED. He graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with a bachelor’s degree in divinity in 1962 and became a Presbyterian minister in 1963. He attended the University of Pittsburgh‘s Graduate School of Child Development, where he began his 30-year collaboration with child psychologist Margaret McFarland. He also helped develop the children’s shows The Children’s Corner (1955) and Misterogers (1963). In 1968, he created Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran for 33 years. The program was critically acclaimed for focusing on children’s emotional and physical concerns, such as death, sibling rivalry, school enrollment, and divorce.

Rogers died of stomach cancer on February 27, 2003, at age 74. His work in children’s television has been widely lauded, and he received more than 40 honorary degrees and several awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002 and a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 1997. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1999. Rogers influenced many writers and producers of children’s television shows, and his broadcasts have served as a source of comfort during tragic events, even after his death.

Wikipedia: Fred Rogers

This is a wonderful short, quick, incisive, and thoughtful book. Its 161 pages, counting prologue, counting acknowledgements, and with a few blank pages. Each page is a paragraph (some paragraphs / thoughts run into two pages) style thought by Fred Rogers, some short, some long. They each express an idea or thought.

You can hear his voice in each piece of this book. You can see him sitting there, taking off his shoes, or coat, coming in from the outside, and telling us these things as we sat there rapt as always as children, now as adults. And this is what we all need to hear from time to time.

Its nothing earth shattering or profound, but its the profound at the time. And coming with the weight and knowledge of Fred Rogers behind it, nothing is an empty aphorism or crappy ‘inspirational quote’ you might hear from “Becky” the girl who peeked in high school and is now trying to sell you Avon or LullaRoe.

He speaks to the children in us as adults, giving us the thoughts and wisdoms we still need, despite growing up. Some of us have moved on, to bigger and better things, some of us have floundered, some of us are still trapped, some of us are working on ourselves, some of us are working to just survive; but we are all working on our journeys. And all of our journeys are different, and that is to be celebrated. It is to be lived, and it is to be human. And that is precisely who Fred Rogers is speaking to with this book – the human progressing through their journey.

My GoodReads Rating: ****
Global Average GoodReads Rating: 4.44 (as of 11.12.21)
My LibraryThing Rating: ****.5

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