You Are My Friend: The Story of Mister Rogers and His Neighborhood by Aimee Reid
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Growing up I was a different child. I'm so thankful my childhood was in the late 70s and 80s. I can't imagine all the pressure of this modern and technological world. I was wild and outspoken. What most children didn't realize is my home-life was hard.
At age 5 my mom went back to work at nights and my dad was my primary caregiver. On the weekends they shipped me off to my Aunt and Uncle's house to play with my cousins. Over the summers I lived in California with them as well. My parents were hard working but we had little money and thankfully many relatives helped keep food on the table.
There were some very rocky years in my parents marriage. My dad broke his back when I was around 8 and we ended up having to move. We moved three times total and back to my childhood neighborhood when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. Talk about a hard time. I think I was around 10 and it was rough. Mom was very sick and Dad did everything to take care of her. He loved her with all his heart and he carried out that love for all us children to see. She eventually beat that round of cancer but it came back almost 5 years later and took her life when I was 17. I know this rocky start has truly affected who I am.
HOWEVER, I had people that spoke kind to me and taught me how to live kindness. Mister Rodger's spoke those words into every child's heart each show and they sunk in. I knew I could be myself and love myself. I have to believe that his words helped shape my generation. There is a reason why so many of my mommy friends speak words of encouragement and strive to build our kids up. Why we are accepting of each child's unique personhood.
I end the program by saying, 'You've made this day a special day, by just your being you. There's no person in the whole world like you; and I like you just the way you are.'
Fred Rogers - Wikiquote
about the book:
Mister Rogers is one of the most beloved television personalities, but before he was the man who brought us Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he was just little Freddie Rogers. Though he was often sick and had trouble making friends as a child, his mom and grandfather encouraged him to ask for help and explore the world. With their support, he learned how to better say what he was feeling and see the beauty around him. As he grew up, he realized he could spread the message of compassion, equality, and kindness through television. You Are My Friend is a gentle homage to Fred Rogers and shows how his simple message still resonates with us today: “There’s no person in the world like you and I like you just the way you are.” The book includes a short biography of Fred’s life and a bibliography.
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