50 Iconic Quotes & Inspirational Lessons From Mr. Rogers

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Mr. Fred Rogers, famous for his iconic PBS show, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," was born on March 20, 1928, in a town called Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

As a child, Mr. Rogers was bullied. He was overweight and often referred to as “Fat Freddy.” This caused him to become introverted and spend a lot of time by himself. He learned to play the piano and spent much of his time working with puppets.

He went to Dartmouth College before eventually transferring to Rollins College, where he majored in music composition. He graduated Magna Cum Ludie in 1951.

Rogers wanted to go to seminary school but instead, he decided to attempt a career in television, citing that he hated what was being shown on TV and he wanted to change it. To help it to become more nurturing.

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After graduating, Rogers moved to New York City to work for NBC as a floor runner for an assortment of children’s shows. Two years later in 1953, Rogers moved back to Pennsylvania.

He was hired by a network in Pittsburg as a Program Developer for children’s television programs. Their main focus was a show called "Children’s Corner," which Rogers developed, and Josie Carey starred.

This is where rogers first developed puppets that would later become household names, such as Daniel Tiger, King Friday, Queen Sara, X the Owl, Henrietta, and Lady Elaine.

In 1963 CBC Toronto brought Rogers to film a series called "Misterogders." It consisted of 15-minute-long black and white episodes. It lasted from 1963 to 1967. It was his first time appearing on screen.

In 1968, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" began airing nationally. The show was modified to be a 30-minute-long educational program filled with puppets, learning, and love. It was aired by WQED Pittsburgh, which later became PBS.

The most popular Mr. Rogers catchphrase is from his song "Won't you be my neighbor" with the saying, "It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, A beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Please won’t you be my neighbor?"

Mr. Rogers ends every program by saying, “You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you, and I like you, just the way you are.”

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood eventually aired 865 episodes and ran for 31 years. Its final season aired in 2001.

In 2002 Rogers was diagnosed with Stomach Cancer. Rogers died on February 27, 2003, with his wife Sara by his side. He was weeks away from turning 75.

He taught us so many things: He taught us how to love, and be loved. He taught us how to lose and how to succeed.

Mr. Rogers taught us how to be angry, and how to forgive — but most of all he taught us how to be a good neighbor.

To commemorate the incredible work and cherish the amazing man that was Mr. Rogers, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" was made in 2019, which was about the 1998 "Esquire" profile written by Tom Junod and the friendship that soon blossomed between Junod and Fred Rogers. The film starred Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers and Matthew Rhys as Lloyd Vogel which was loosely based on Junod.

Tom Hanks told CBS This Morning that the role was "terrifying" to play because he was trying to be as authentic as possible and the hardest part was "slowing down." Hanks told Variety that after seeing the video from a 1981 episode of Mr. Rogers greeting  Jeffrey Erlanger, the young boy in a wheelchair, he immediately converted to a Mr. Rogers fan. 

"I think that, when Fred Rogers first saw children’s programming, he saw something that was cynical. And why in the world would you put a pipeline of cynicism into the minds of a two or three-year-old-kid? That you are not cool because you don’t have this toy, that it’s funny to see somebody being bopped on the head, that hey, kids be the first in line in order to get blah, blah, blah. That’s a cynical treatment of an audience, and we have become so inured to that that when we are met with as simple a message as hey, you know what, it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, [it’s a reminder] that we are allowed…to start off feeling good.”

Take a look at our collection of some of the most iconic, best Mr. Rogers quotes and teachings from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and his personal comments throughout his life.

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The best Mr. Rogers quotes and inspirational lessons from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood:

1. “All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors—in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.” — Mr. Rogers

2. “Nobody else can live the life you live.” — Mr. Rogers

3. "Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero.” — Mr. Rogers

4. "We speak with more than our mouths. We listen with more than our ears.” — Mr. Rogers

5. “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like “struggle.” To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” — Mr. Rogers

6. “You are special. You’re special to me. There’s only one in this wonderful world.” — Mr. Rogers

7. "In a way, you’ve already won in this world because you’re the only one who can be you.” — Mr. Rogers

8. "As human beings, 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 have something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.” — Mr. Rogers

9. “You can’t really love someone else unless you really love yourself first.” — Mr. Rogers

10. "When I was very young, most of my childhood heroes wore capes, flew through the air, or picked up buildings with one arm. They were spectacular and got a lot of attention. But as I grew, my heroes changed, so that now I can honestly say that anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me." — Mr. Rogers

11. “When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news. My mother would say “Look for the helpers. You will always find people helping.”— Mr. Rogers

12. "There is no normal life that is free of pain. It's the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth."— Mr. Rogers

13. "When we love a person, we accept him or her exactly as is: the lovely with the unlovely, the strong with the fearful, the true mixed in with the façade, and of course, the only way we can do it is by accepting ourselves that way.” — Mr. Rogers 

14. “Peace means far more than the opposite of war.” — Mr. Rogers

15. “Solitude is different than loneliness; it doesn’t have to be a lonely kind of thing.” — Mr. Rogers

16. “One of the great dignities of humankind is that each successive generation is invested in the welfare of each new generation." — Mr. Rogers

17. "Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love. Like all of life's important coping skills, the ability to forgive and the capacity to let go of resentments most likely take root very early in our lives." — Mr. Rogers

18. “Understanding love is the hardest thing in the world” — Mr. Rogers

19. "We get so wrapped up in numbers in our society. The most important thing is that we are able to be one-to-one, you and I with each other at the moment. If we can be present to the moment with the person that we happen to be with, that’s what’s important.” — Mr. Rogers

20. “Try-your best to make goodness attractive. That’s one of the toughest assignments you will ever be given.” — Mr. Rogers

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21. "Who we are in the present includes who we were in the past." — Mr. Rogers

22. "It’s good to be curious about many things.” — Mr. Rogers

23. "It’s the people we love the most who can make us feel the gladdest…and the maddest! Love and anger are such a puzzle!” — Mr. Rogers

24. “Whatever we choose to imagine can be as private as we want it to be. Nobody knows what you’re thinking or feeling unless you share it.” — Mr. Rogers

25. “If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” — Mr. Rogers

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26. "Who you are inside is what helps you make and do everything in life.” — Mr. Rogers

27. "Listening is where love begins: listening to ourselves and then to our neighbors.” — Mr. Rogers

28. "Often, problems are knots with many strands, and looking at those strands can make a problem seem different.” — Mr. Rogers

29. "When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.” — Mr. Rogers

30. “It’s not so much what you have in this life that matters. It’s what we do with what we have.” — Mr. Rogers

31. "There are times when explanations, no matter how reasonable, just don’t seem to help.” — Mr. Rogers

32. "Feeling good about ourselves is essential in our being able to love others.” — Mr. Rogers

33. "Even though no human being is perfect, we always have the chance to bring what’s unique about us to life in a redeeming way.” — Mr. Rogers

34. "Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort.” — Mr. Rogers

35. “The world needs a sense of worth, and it will only achieve it by its people feeling they are worthwhile.” — Mr. Rogers

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36. "There’s a world of difference between insisting on someone’s doing something and establishing an atmosphere in which that person can grow into wanting to do it.” — Mr. Rogers

37. "Imagining something may be the first step in making it happen, but it takes the real time and real efforts of real people to learn things, make things, turn thoughts into deeds or visions into inventions.” — Mr. Rogers

38. "There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” — Mr. Rogers

39. "Real strength has to do with helping others.” — Mr. Rogers

40. "We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say, 'It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.' Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes."— Mr. Rogers

41. "How many times have you noticed that it’s the little quiet moments in the midst of life that seem to give the rest extra-special meaning?” — Mr. Rogers

42. "I don’t think anyone can grow unless he’s loved exactly as he is now, appreciated for what he is rather than what he will be.” — Mr. Rogers

43. "Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person..” — Mr. Rogers

44. "We all have different gifts, so we all have different ways of saying to the world who we are.”

45. "I hope you're proud of yourself for the times you've said 'yes,' when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to somebody else." — Mr. Rogers

46. "Everyone longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving.” — Mr. Rogers

47. "Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.” — Mr. Rogers

48. "The media shows the tiniest percentage of what people do. There are millions and millions of people doing wonderful things all over the world, and they’re generally not the ones being touted in the news.” — Mr. Rogers

49. "The only thing evil can’t stand is forgiveness.” — Mr. Rogers

50. "There's no 'should' or 'should not' when it comes to having feelings. They're part of who we are and their origins are beyond our control. When we can believe that, we may find it easier to make constructive choices about what to do with those feelings." — Mr. Rogers 

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Kaitlin Kaiser is a writer who writes about love, relationships, self-care, spirituality and astrology.