Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Few Words Wednesday: Parenting Peace of Mind From Mr. Sweater Vest Himself

Just as it takes time for children to understand what real love is, it takes time for parents to understand that being always patient, quiet, even-tempered, and respectful isn't necessarily what "good" parents are. In fact, parents help children by expressing a wide range of feelings - including appropriate anger. All children need to see that the adults in their lives can feel anger and not hurt themselves or anyone else when they feel that way.

~ Fred Rogers

Despite my best efforts, I am not always patient, quiet, even-tempered, and respectful. And because of this, throughout my 12 years as a parent I have on occasion worried about the consequences of letting Will and Hallie see me angry, sad, and frustrated.

I had never looked at emotion and behavior through Mr. Rogers' lens, but now that I have, I believe he was right. (Wasn't he always right?) As long as we let kids also see us resolve our anger, sadness, and frustration, we are actually helping them better understand the vast spectrum of human emotion and how to - in a healthy and productive manner - respond to and recover from these emotions when they feel confusing and overwhelming.

Thanks, Mr. Rogers. As always, you said exactly what we needed to hear.

I missed it in the theater, but I can't wait to see Won't You Be My Neighbor? starring Tom Hanks now that it has found a temporary home on Netflix. Also related to Mr. Rogers and worth mentioning is Beyond the Neighborhood: The Music of Fred Rogers by Kevin Bales and Keri Johnsrud. This jazz album features many of Mr. Rogers' compositions, and because Keri and I sang together for a couple of years in college, I can vouch for the quality of her voice and the album.

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