Mister Rogers’ Remarkable Kindness

I discovered Mister Rogers late in my life through the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? I was struck by his profound respect and kindness towards, well, everyone, but children especially.

I thought perhaps I could find some quotes to add to the API, and in my search I stumbled upon letters written by Mister Rogers in response to children from his audience. Here’s one among many others:

A letter from Mister Rogers to Doug.

What he chooses to say is, I think, an embodiment of kind speech. He emphasizes that the original letter was wonderful and interesting, and that it meant a lot to him. He answers the feedback. Finally he communicates a deep truth that everyone—children especially—deserve to know:

You’re special—just because you’re you.

That quote is now part of the Kind Speech collection. So is “you have good ideas” and several others, including my personal favorite:

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.

Children have a way to bring out kindness in adults. Perhaps we sense that they are sensitive and innocent. But the line between children and adults is quite arbitrary, and we would be wise to recognize that we are not so different.

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