I just planned to share the lyrics today to one of my favorite Mister Rogers songs, "The Truth Will Make Me Free," but in the fruitless search for a video or recording of the song, I found myself lost on the internet, viewing video after video of this incredible educator and life-long advocate for children.
The last time I mentioned Mister Rogers here, it was brought to my attention that if you didn't grow up in the US or Canada, you probably don't know about him. Even if that's not the case for you, I urge you to spend a little time this Saturday taking a look at some of the 26 full length episodes available here.
Mister Rogers taught children that confronting feelings and giving them appropriate expression is a sign of strength, not weakness:
"It takes strength to acknowledge our anger, and sometimes more strength yet to curb the aggressive urges anger may bring and to channel them into nonviolent outlets. It takes strength to face our sadness and to grieve and to let our grief and our anger flow in tears when they need to. It takes strength to talk about our feelings and to reach for help and comfort when we need it."
Here are the lyrics I wanted to share:
The Truth Will Make Me FreeWhat if I were very, very sadAnd all I did was smile?I wonder after awhileWhat might become of my sadness?What if I were very, very angryAnd all I did was sitAnd never think about it?What might become of my anger?Where would they go,And what would they do,If I couldn't let them out?Maybe I'd fall, maybe get sickOr doubt.But what if I could know the truthAnd say just how I feel?I think I'd learn a lot that's realAbout freedomI'm learning to sing a sad song when I'm sadI'm learning to say I'm angry when I'm very madI'm learning to shout, I'm getting it outI'm happy learning exactly how I feel inside of meI'm learning to know the truthI'm learning to tell the truthDiscovering truth will make me free
But Mister Rogers did much more than teach children. This first clip shows him testifying before the US Senate in an attempt to save funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The senator starts out sounding like he wants to pick a fight, but ends by being entirely won-over. I love that Mister Rogers quotes, on the floor of the Senate, in it's entirety, the lyrics to one of my other favorites, "What Do You Do With The Mad That You Feel?" This just makes me proud to be a preschool teacher.
And this is Mister Rogers accepting his Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award. This humble man, even at this moment, one that is all about him, used it as another opportunity to teach others about themselves and to remind them that they are loved. I'd never seen it before and it made me cry.