How to Handle Social Distancing Like Mister Rogers

The way the children's television icon managed a quarantine during his childhood can be an inspiration to us all. 

- Posted on May 13, 2020

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Before he became the creator and star of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, one of the most beloved children's shows of all time, Fred Rogers was a child in quarantine. Although he found himself staying at home for very different reasons than the current spread of the coronavirus, the lessons he learned still apply to us today. 

During his youth, according to Inside Edition, Rogers was diagnosed with hay fever, which forced him to spend the summer months indoors instead of out playing with his friends. Rather than let his isolation get him down, Rogers used this time to develop some of the characters who would later become mainstays on his show, such as Daniel Striped Tiger, King Friday and Queen Sara Saturday. 

"He often found that he was having to spend time alone inside because the air quality was so poor in Western Pennsylvania, and he couldn't really be outside," Robert Schomberg, the director of the Fred Rogers Center shared with "During those times when he was often alone, he turned to his imaginary friends and he turned to his puppets as ways to entertain himself and to create stories." 

Schomberg also pointed to one of Fred's most famous quotes, which is that when times are the most trying, we should "look for the helpers." The pandemic has caused distress and anxiety for many people, but it has also provided opportunities for humans to serve each other and help in extraordinary ways. 

Guideposts blogger Holly Lebowitz Rossi said that one of the best lessons Mister Rogers taught children was not to stifle their emotions, a lesson that applies to adults more than ever. "He embodied the idea of authentic positivity, which teaches that only when we embrace the full range of our emotions, including the so-called 'negative' feelings of anger, sadness, loneliness and fear, can we learn to walk through life with a genuinely positive outlook," she wrote in the "A Positive Path" blog.

Regardless of the circumstance, Rogers commitment to faith and creativity can provide inspiration and hope during even the scariest times. 

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