He helped us with our feelings.

Lots of ways of feeling are fine (1992)
Lots of ways of feeling are fine (1992)
“What do you do with the Mad that you Feel” (1997)
King Friday feels jealous (1973)

Mister Rogers let us know it was okay to be mad or sad or scared. What mattered most is what we do with our feelings. He encouraged us to talk about them, to find constructive ways to express them and to develop that good feeling of control.

In this Neighborhood, feelings aren’t to be ignored or dismissed. Instead, they’re acknowledged, talked about and played about. Throughout the series Mister Rogers helped us know there are lots of ways to deal with and express our feelings…ways that don’t hurt ourselves or anyone else.

When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we’re not alone.
Fred Rogers

Feelings are mentionable and manageable

“Nobody knows what you’re thinking or feeling unless you tell them.” Young children think adults know everything – even what children are thinking or feeling. Mister Rogers helped us know that when we can talk about our feelings, others can understand us and help us find ways to manage. 

Giving names to feelings is the first step to managing them, so Mister Rogers used words like angry, sad, and scared, and even more complex words like frustrated, disappointed, worried. He even told children about the word ambivalent – feeling two different ways about the same thing.


I am scared of three things… Is there some way you can you help me?
-A young viewer

Lots of ways to express our feelings

“What do you do with the mad that you feel?”  It was a little boy who asked that question, and through song, Mister Rogers answered. We could channel our anger into physical activity, like pounding clay or running fast, which is most natural for young children. We could find friends to talk to. We could find ways to play about our angry feelings.  But what’s most important is to be able to stop, to be able to find a way to control ourselves “when we’ve planned a thing that’s wrong.” 

When he introduced us to many of the special guests he often asked them to show how they used their art or music to express their feelings, especially when they were angry. Mister Rogers even showed how, as a young boy, he would start pounding on the piano keys, making angry sounds, but as he got the feelings out, his sounds became softer and mellow.  Along with his example, he was encouraging us to find our own ways.

All our lives we deal with our feelings and work on finding ways to manage them. And even though our problems and situations are much larger than when we were children, the tools Mister Rogers gave us can still help us now. 

Fred Rogers, the wisest man on television… The way Rogers saw it, a secure and happy childhood was of the greatest importance not because we stay children forever, but because we don’t… “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” is all about preparing kids for life.
"I know the kinds of things I had to work on being a child." Satellite Technology Demonstration, 1968