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"It's You I Like": Tribute to Mr. Fred Rogers

April 11, 2019

 

"It's You I Like" by Fred Rogers

 

It’s you I like,
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair–
But it’s you I like
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you–
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys–
They’re just beside you.

But it’s you I like–
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
Even when you’re feeling blue
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself,
It’s you, it’s you I like.

 

The release of the documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, in 2018 about Mr. Fred Rogers, reminded me of my own childhood and fond memories of the Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood show. Revisiting this song "It's You I Like", now as a practicing therapist, I reflected on the incredible insight that he had into children’s emotional development and health. His understanding and respect of children’s dignity brought tears to my eyes, knowing professionally that children, parents, and even adults who have suffered the loss of dignity of their person and/or have had their emotional parts of them neglected as a child, need such understanding and respect. This blog is a tribute to Mr. Fred Rogers and hopefully will spark a conversation to think about your own intrinsic value and the children in your life whether they are related to you or they are the younger selves within. You truly have value just as you are.  

 

Everyone longs for the sense of being accepted as they are at some point their lives while sometimes being accepted is taken for granted. The longing exists because as a baby we were once accepted and adored for just our being ourselves. As we grow and learn as children, there are things that we need to accomplish, skills we need to master, knowledge we need to acquire in order to navigate the world the way we see big people do. Children can feel inadequate just in comparison to looking up at the mastery of their parents or caretakers and feel inferior because they don’t have the qualities and skills of a big person. Perhaps it is a narrative children can create for themselves or the parents assist in creating by shaming them for where they may be even if it is developmentally appropriate. Children who don't have their needs met emotionally can also develop a sense of vigilance in relationships that they aren't accepted and that love is conditional. When children don’t quite fit in to the others around them, that is - they have different feelings, different upbringings, and different physical abilities or features. Any of these aspects of realization imposed by dismissal to discrimination, and those not listed here, can cause a small child to wonder about his/her worth, value, and belonging. Working with many over the years, I have found that this existential crisis can even happen to children pre-verbally, and the ways that people can grow to long for acceptance seem diverse yet so fundamental.

 

What can we do now as adults who are grappling with sense of self-worth, identity, and value, using the wisdom of the words of Fred Rogers? Perhaps we are also pondering this as we raise our own children? 1. The key take-away is to love and accept oneself unconditionally – that is, to identify the person with the value, this person is deep inside, the essence of a soul that cannot be seen but knows when it is seen. This essence is beyond accomplishments one can ever achieve in life.. it’s an unconditional acceptance of a one's soul. 2. Identify the body in which your essence inhabits, love the body you are in because that is also a part of you manifested in this life. This body carries a legacy of ancestors known and unknown and it's the one you inhabit and exist in. 3. Acceptance of feelings no matter what they might be, happy or sad. Not asking one to smile when they are not happy, or be shushed whey they feel angry. All the feelings the essence of you are experiencing is deeply accepted. In fact, not only are you accepted but also liked. Your essence, your body, and feelings has dignity and affinity from life itself. More simply and profoundly put, sing this to your children, your inner children, and the ones you love:

 

It’s you I like,
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair–
But it’s you I like
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you–
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys–
They’re just beside you.

But it’s you I like–
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
Even when you’re feeling blue
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself,
It’s you, it’s you I like.

 

The link to Mr. Rogers singing his song to you!:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWxDQIhDmdE

 

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