How Mr. Rogers Taught Us to Meet Life’s Challenges

A fellow AT teacher and I were wondering together about the overlap between teaching and healing. Clearly, we were teachers, educators, but might we also be healers? And, if we were healers, was not harboring that idea forbidden within our profession? “I’m going to have to give this a good bit more thought,” I said.

That night at 4am I had to get up and start writing. Alone, (was I alone), in that dark alleyway between waking and sleeping worlds, I wrote…

To speak of healing implies that someone is sick and in need of healing. I choose not to see my students, nor myself, as sick no matter how much they or I may be suffering.

I see us as sometimes confused and in need of knowing what is true.

I see us as sometimes thrown off our balance and in need of knowing how to regain it.

I see us as sometimes conflicted and in need of confluence.

I see us as sometimes distressed and in need of release.

I see us as sometimes exhausted and in need of support.

I see us as sometimes frozen with fear and in need of knowing how to melt into motion.

I see us as sometimes lost and in need of orientation.

I see us as sometimes driven and in need of learning how to drive.

I see us as sometimes isolated and in need of knowing that we are not.

I see us as sometimes neglected and in need of attention and care, which sometimes we alone can give.

Though I do not see people as sick, I can see that sometimes neither are we well. I choose to see us as challenged. I have never met a person who was not physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually challenged. What resources do we need to meet this challenge? My job is to offer those interested a few resources that were given to me, and some that I myself found along the way, that have helped me meet this challenge.

What does that make me professionally? I have no idea. I think of myself as a cross between a physical education teacher, social worker, rabbi, and Mr. Rodgers. And, speaking of Mr. Rogers, who many of you may not know, I will end these alleyway thoughts with a four-minute video. Watch it until the end. It will tell you, in a nutshell, what I do my best to teach and how Mr. Rogers taught us, parents and children alike, to meet our challenges.


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