About once a year, I like to watch video clips on youtube from Mr. Rogers and older stuff on Sesame Street. I always end up in awe of how simple, yet how profound, these messages are.
Lesson #1: Learning is fun.
No one has demonstrated this better than Sesame Street. For over forty years, these amazing actors and puppeteers have sought to make learning an enjoyable experience for small children. I would think that even they have exceeded their own expectations. They are the voice of all children, and are the heart of adults that still wish they knew how to get to Sesame Street.
Lesson #2: You are special.
There was a reason Fred Rogers concluded each episode of his show by telling children this. Not every child was lucky enough to have parents that loved them, and his gentle voice through the television might be the only time a kid heard that all day.
My parents were great, and I did not appreciate Mr. Rogers as a kid, but the world is a sadder place without such a good neighbor.
Lesson #3: It's such a good feeling to know you're alive.
Even as a child, and especially as an adult, we start to get overwhelmed with life. We stress over money and bills, dangers lurking around the corner, horrible natural disasters that fill us with sorrow for those affected. We worry that we won't be successful with our chosen paths.
Naive as it may sound, we should all spend a little bit more time being thankful for the smallest things in life. Take a deep breath. Glance at a photo of your loved ones. Look out the window at a plant in the sun. It is a good feeling to know we're alive, and that we, on the whole, are so blessed.
Lesson #4: Don't worry that it's not good enough...
In the famous Sesame Street song, "Sing" people are encouraged to always have a song in their heart, sing it loud, and not to worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear.
I interpret this as an anthem for being a little different, following your own drummer, and being proud of just being you, leading into the next lesson...
Lesson #5: People can like you exactly the way you are.
Another show-closer by Mr. Rogers, and probably the most important lesson of all. We don't need to change ourselves, or hide behind walls and masks. All we have to do is be ourselves.
At different points in our lives, these lessons slip away. We all need reminders at times, and that's ok. These lessons serve to give anyone a bit of a sunny day, and that is such a good feeling.