Mister Rogers played a starring role in the childhood of my generation. Not only was he there in our living room every morning, wearing his signature cardigan and singing a familiar song, but his legacy and the lessons he taught us continue to echo through our adult lives today. When I learned that Tom Hanks – an icon in his own right – would be portraying my childhood hero in the new film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, I decided it was worth the splurge on a movie ticket.
After dog-earing half the pages in my copy, I decided to compile my favorite quotes for my own easy reference. If you have a chronic illness, these quotes might resonate with you too. Here are 13 of my absolute favorites, but I also recommend reading the entire book!
"What’s been important in my understanding of myself and others is the fact that each one of us is so much more than any one thing. A sick child is much more than his or her sickness. A person with a disability is much, much more than a handicap. A pediatrician is more than a medical doctor. You’re much more than your job description or your age or your income or your output."
"I believe that the basis of any health education lies in a person’s caring enough about himself that he’ll want to take care of himself. If we want people to eat the right food, brush their teeth, get the proper exercise, seek regular checkups, avoid cigarettes, dope, and poison, we must help these people feel that they’re really worth taking care of."
"We’d all like to feel self-reliant and capable of coping with whatever adversity comes our way, but that’s not how most human beings are made. It’s my belief that the capacity to accept help is inseparable from the capacity to give help when our turn comes to be strong."
"Some of my richest experiences have come out of the most painful times… those that were the hardest to believe would ever turn into anything positive."
"Most children who are ill or have some kind of disability are afraid of their angry wishes. Their parents are afraid of their own anger, too. They’re afraid that any anger in themselves and in any others around them might end up in death."
"Being in the best hospital in the world is still second-best to being home… and well."
"When we can resign ourselves to the wishes that will never come true, there can be enormous energies available within us for whatever we can do. I know a woman who remembers the time when her wish to be married and have children would not be realized. She remembers the struggle of the final resignation, and then she remembers the outcome of that resignation. Enormous energies were available to her, which she used in developing uniquely creative work with young parents."
"Some days, 'doing the best we can' may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn’t perfect – on any front – and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else."
"There is no normal life that is free of pain. It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth."
"There are certainly no easy answers to growing older and being gracious about it, because there are going to be some days that you just don’t like it when you ache. But there are going to be other days when you can receive what others give. I don’t think any of us is going to be any one way all of the time."
"Part of the problem with 'disabilities' is that the word immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or can’t talk about their feelings? Or can’t manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the truly crippling disabilities."