Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Wor(l)d According to Mr. Rogers

Clive Hicks-Jenkins for Thaliad
Yesterday would have been the 87th birthday of Mr. Rogers. And you know, this morning, thinking of people I know--contemplating first someone who feels almost desperate and may be dying and then another, younger person who is awash in talents but who is scorched by self-criticism and cannot manage to feel worthy--I thought of his words. This little post is especially for those two, but you may find it of interest as well.

Isn't that strange, to want an answer and to think of a man who dealt in potato bugs and leaf-polishing and little children? He never wanted to bore those little children. He meant to always see them and all things clearly, giving them a slow, careful attention.

Fred Rogers was one of those people that Walden suggests are rare and few--those who are not asleep, who do not lie down as sleepers and let the trains of life run over them. They are people who are awake to the world and to others and to themselves.

“Life is deep and simple, and what our society gives us is shallow and complicated.”

“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.” 

"You know, I think everybody longs to be loved, and longs to know that he or she is lovable. And, consequently, the greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they're loved and capable of loving." 

"I believe that appreciation is a holy thing, that when we look for what's best in the person we happen to be with at the moment, we're doing what God does; so in appreciating our neighbor, we're participating in something truly sacred." 

“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 fa├žade, and of course, the only way we can do it is by accepting ourselves that way."

“In the external scheme of things, shining moments are as brief as the twinkling of an eye, yet such twinklings are what eternity is made of -- moments when we human beings can say "I love you," "I'm proud of you," "I forgive you," "I'm grateful for you." That's what eternity is made of: invisible imperishable good stuff.”

"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else.” 

Count me in, Mr. Rogers Fan Club.


  1. Thank you for sharing . . . It helps . . .

  2. Postscript: I was among the first people to see Mr. Rogers on television. Let me explain. His show originated in Pittsburgh (PBS station), and it was local long before it went national. Growing up in western Pennsylvania, I was one of Fred Rogers' first neighbors. Perhaps I should buy and wear a cardigan. That might help. Hmmm.

    1. Indeed! Yes, wear a cardigan and think of Mr. Rogers... He was so very good at that injunction, "Love on another."

  3. Replies
    1. :) I didn't but half appreciate him when my children were little. But every time I bump into him, I find more in him, this man who was loved by Koko the gorilla and many people.

  4. I'm in as well, Marly. Like you, I didn't see it when our children were little. But then I was such a product of the times, unfortunately. All I knew was that he was a very calming influence, so i was happy to tune him in at dinner time.

    1. What times they were, too. Makes me admire him all the more, that he could see through appearances to the heart of all that matters. Glad to come back to this post today--makes a rather bad day better!


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.