“Look for the helpers.”

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While we’ve visited Mister Rogers' Neighborhood several times this year, we can always use more quality time with our favorite neighbor. That’s why we’re celebrating our favorite words of wisdom from the late Fred Rogers. These quotes remind us to be kinder to our neighbors and to ourselves, which is a very important thing. Some of these quotations can be found in Rogers’ commencement addresses given at Dartmouth (2001) and Middlebury (2002), while others are collected at the Fred Rogers Center and in Rogers’ books: Life's Journeys According to Mister Rogers: Things to Remember Along the Way, Many Ways to Say I Love You: Wisdom for Parents and Children from Mister Rogers, and The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember. Read on for words of wisdom that inspire, lend perspective, and remind us all of our worthiness and inherent ability to make a difference in the lives of others.

On Worthiness

“The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.”
“The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.”
“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.”
“We don’t always succeed in what we try—certainly not by the world’s standards—but it’s not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls. It’s the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our very being is good stuff.”

On Making a Difference

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
“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.”
“Whether we're a preschooler or a young teen, a graduating college senior or a retired person, we human beings all want to know that we're acceptable, that our being alive somehow makes a difference in the lives of others.”
“It's our insides that make us who we are, that allow us to dream and wonder and feel for others. That's what's essential. That's what will always make the biggest difference in our world.”
“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.”
“Some days, doing the best we can do may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn’t perfect on any front, and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else.”

On Life

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”
“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?”
“How great it is when we come to know that times of disappointment can be followed by joy; that guilt over falling short of our ideals can be replaced by pride in doing all that we can; and that anger can be channeled into creative achievements…and into dreams that we can make come true.”
“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.”
“From the time you were very little, you’ve had people who have smiled you into smiling, people who have talked you into talking, sung you into singing, loved you into loving.”
“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.”
“You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.”

On Love

“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.”
“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.”
“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”

On Connection

“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
“Our world hangs like a magnificent jewel in the vastness of space. Every one of us is a part of that jewel. A facet of that jewel. And in the perspective of infinity, our differences are infinitesimal. We are intimately related. May we never even pretend that we are not.”

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What are your favorite Fred Rogers quotes? Let us know what words of wisdom you take with you through life.