Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Truth Will Make Me Free

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 Free

What if I were very, very sad
And all I did was smile?
I wonder after awhile
What might become of my sadness?

What if I were very, very angry
And all I did was sit
And 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 sick
Or doubt.

But what if I could know the truth
And say just how I feel?
I think I'd learn a lot that's real
About freedom

I'm learning to sing a sad song when I'm sad
I'm learning to say I'm angry when I'm very mad
I'm learning to shout, I'm getting it out
I'm happy learning exactly how I feel inside of me
I'm learning to know the truth
I'm learning to tell the truth
Discovering 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. 

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Cindy said...

Thank you so much for reminding us of the treasure that was Mr. Rogers. I loved watching his show with my daughter a couple of years ago.

And I admire the work that you are doing. We have a learning center in Southern California and every once and awhile I tell my husband I want to create a school like yours. Keep up the great work!

Unknown said...

Now you've made me cry, Tom! Mr. Rogers is an icon for those of us in early childhood education. His philosophies are both timely and timeless. Thanks for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the wonderful reminder. Imagine what kind of wonderful world we would live in if we all were a little more like Mr. Rogers. =)

KiddoKare1 said...

I love Mr. Rogers, also. If you've never read Amy Hollingsworth's book: The Simple Faith of Mr. Rogers, it is a wonderful book.

Unknown said...

I have always loved him.

Anonymous said...

wow that was awesome - thank you for sharing that.