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10 Lovely Quotes From Mister Rogers About Love

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Mister Rogers taught us about kindness, imagination, wonder, and countless other life lessons. Above all else, he emphasized the importance of love—loving ourselves and loving others. Here are 10 quotes about love from our favorite neighbor, Mister Rogers.

1. "Deep within us—no matter who we are—there lives a feeling of wanting to be lovable, of wanting to be the kind of person that others like to be with. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving."  From The World According To Mister Rogers

2. "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." — From The World According To Mister Rogers

3. "Love and trust, in the space between what’s said and what’s heard in our life, can make all the difference in this world." — From The World According To Mister Rogers

4. "There are many ways to say I love you. Just by being there when things are sad and scary. Just by being there, being there, being there to say, I love you." —"Many Way to Say I Love You" as performed on Episode 1643 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

5. "We need to help people to discover the true meaning of love. Love is generally confused with dependence. Those of us who have grown in true love know that we can love only in proportion to our capacity for independence." — From The World According To Mister Rogers

6. "Love is like infinity: You can’t have more or less infinity, and you can’t compare two things to see if they’re 'equally infinite.' Infinity just is, and that’s the way I think love is, too." — From The World According To Mister Rogers

7. "The toughest thing is to love somebody who has done something mean to you. Especially when that somebody has been yourself." — From Episode 1665 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

8. "Listening is where love begins: listening to ourselves and then to our neighbors.” — From The World According To Mister Rogers

9. "Love seems to be something that keeps filling up within us. The more we give away, the more we have to give." — From The World According To Mister Rogers

10. "When we love a person, we accept him or her exactly as is: the lovely with the unlovely, the strong along 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." — From The World According To Mister Rogers

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The Sweet Surprise Reunion Mr. Rogers Never Saw Coming
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For more than 30 years, legendary children’s show host Fred Rogers used his PBS series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to educate his young viewers on concepts like empathy, sharing, and grief. As a result, he won just about every television award he was eligible for, some of them many times over.

Rogers was gracious in accepting each, but according to those who were close to the host, one honor in particular stood out. It was March 11, 1999, and Rogers was being inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, an offshoot of the Emmy Awards. Just before he was called to the stage, out came a surprise.

The man responsible for the elation on Rogers’s face was Jeff Erlanger, a 29-year-old from Madison, Wisconsin who became a quadriplegic at a young age after undergoing spinal surgery to remove a tumor. Rogers was surprised because Erlanger had appeared on his show nearly 20 years prior, in 1980, to help kids understand how people with physical challenges adapt to life’s challenges. Here's his first encounter with the host:

Reunited on stage after two decades, Erlanger referred to the song “It’s You I Like,” which the two sang during their initial meeting. “On behalf of millions of children and grown-ups,” Erlanger said, “it’s you I like.” The audience, including a visibly moved Candice Bergen, rose to their feet to give both men a standing ovation.

Following Erlanger’s death in 2007, Hedda Sharapan, an employee with Rogers’s production company, called their original poignant scene “authentic” and “unscripted,” and said that Rogers often pointed to it as his favorite moment from the series.

Near the end of the original segment in 1980, as Erlanger drives his wheelchair off-camera, Rogers waves goodbye and offers a departing message: “I hope you’ll come back to visit again.”

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Watch Mister Rogers on The Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman
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Mister Rogers had a special energy that was distinctly different than what we typically see on late night TV. So it's a little surprising that in the early 1980s he appeared on both The Tonight Show (during its Joan Rivers days) and Late Night with David Letterman. Seeing Mister Rogers enter these raucous spaces is delightful, as his serene, thoughtful presence slows things way down.

In Rogers's Tonight Show appearance, the audience is clearly confused. They giggle as Rogers answers Rivers's questions plainly and honestly, devoid of the guile typically on display during these interviews. Rivers seems to sense this disconnect too and comments, "It's so funny, he's talking to me and I feel like I'm 8 years old!"

Eventually Rogers wins over the crowd, asking how many people in the audience "grew up with the Neighborhood." Then we realize that Rivers is wearing one of Rogers's cardigan sweaters. The whole thing becomes wondrous as he gets the audience to sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" with him. Have a look:

Rogers's Letterman appearance is interesting too. It starts with an extended clip of Rogers trying to put up a tent ("Sometimes things don't go right in the Neighborhood"). Rogers gives Letterman a tee-shirt, then offers a sweater and shoes (Dave doesn't take them). They talk about childhood, and Rogers shows a Polaroid of himself with Eddie Murphy who at the time was doing Mister Rogers spoofs on Saturday Night Live. Take a look:

We miss you, Mister Rogers.

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