In times of turmoil, I seek the wisdom of those who speak words of genuine hope. Hope for a world where love is at the center of all we do, with people making real efforts to express that love without discrimination. Pipe dream or not, humanity cannot hope to progress if we continue to forgo the option all of us have to act and believe with love, compassion, empathy and kindness. My heart is breaking  for children and parents who are suffering from the effects of senseless acts of violence in schools across the city, state, country and world. As we cope with this pain I offer the following expressions of hope and care from Mr. Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers Neighborhood. He has served as my role model for how to understand and love children, and I hope he can become one for you as well. Consider his words and how we all might better manifest the love and compassionate values he espoused in a world that desperately needs them. 

“For me, as for all children, the world could have come to seem a scary place to live. But I felt secure with my parents, and they let me know we were safely together whenever I showed concern about accounts of alarming events in the world. There was something else my mother did that I’ve always remembered: ‘Always look for the helpers,’ she’d tell me. ‘There’s always someone who is trying to help.’”

“All we’re ever asked to do in this life is to treat our neighbor— especially our neighbor who is in need—Exactly as we would hope to be treated ourselves. That’s our ultimate responsibility.”

“Being kind means responding to the needs of others—and people can be kind, no matter how old or young we are.”

“It’s the people who feel strong and good about themselves who are best able to accept outside difference—their own and others!”

“I don’t think anyone can grow unless they are loved exactly as they are now, appreciated for what they are rather than what they will be.”

“Imagine what our real neighborhoods would look like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person. There have been so many stories about the lack of courtesy, the impatience of today’s world, road rage, and even restaurant rage. Sometimes, all it takes is one kind word to nourish another person.”

“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 someone else.”

“Where there is pain or sorrow in our children’s lives, as there is bound to be, there is often no way we can make it go away. Often our quiet availability is just what children need, far more than they need coaxes or cajoling or threats or punishments. Our reassuring presence may be enough to help them find inner resources of their own.”

“It’s very dramatic when two people come together to work something out. It’s easy to take a gun and annihilate your opposition, but what is really exciting to me is to see people with differing views come together and finally respect each other.”

“When I was very young, most of my childhood heroes wore capes, flew through the air, or picked up buildings with one arm. They were spectacular and got a lot of attention. But as I grew, my heroes changed, so that now I can honestly say that anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.”

“I encourage you to look for the good where you are and embrace it.”

“Young children don’t know that sadness isn’t forever.”Postpartum Depression Treatment

“When I was a boy I used to think that strong meant having big muscles, great physical power; but the longer I live, the more I realize that real strength has much more to do with what is not seen. Real strength has to do with helping others.”

“A person can grow to his or her fullest capacity only in mutually caring relationships with others.”

“Children have very deep feelings just the way parents do. Just the way everybody does. I feel our striving to understand those feelings, and to better respond to them, is an important task in our world.”

“No one of us has all the answers. I as a father certainly know that. And there is no one prescription for a child. But listening is so important. Most of us talk a lot and that doesn’t leave much time for listening.”

“It’s not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life that 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 firm.”

“All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something of value to bring this world. That’s one of the tings that connects us as neighbors—in our own way each of us is a giver and a receiver.”

“I usually say at the end of each Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood program, ‘You’ve made this day a special day by just your being you. There’s only one person in the whole world like you and people can like you just because you’re you.’ That’s meant for children to hear, but it’s meant for parents, too.”

“It seems to me that the most essential element in the development of any creation must be love—a love the begins in the simple expressions of care for a little child and, once received, goes on to mature into responsible feelings about ourselves and others.”

“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.”

“The values we care about the deepest, and the movements within society that support those values, command our love. When those things that we care about so deeply become endangered, we become enraged. A what a healthy thing that is! Without it, we would never stand up and speak out for what be believe.”