33 Mr. Rogers Quotes That Prove He Was Probably The Kindest Person Ever
By Erin Kelly | Edited By John Kuroski
Published November 12, 2019
Updated November 14, 2019
Read these inspirational quotes from Mr. Rogers, the beloved television host who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, received more than 40 honorary degrees, and once sued the KKK.
As you’d expect, these simple but insightful Mr. Rogers quotes are representative of the exemplary man that he was. The iconic TV host was soft-spoken in the fact that he never seemed to raise his voice — but that’s because nearly everything he said carried its own weight in kindness and truth.
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"Our world hangs like a magnificent jewel in the vastness of space. Every one of us is a part of that jewel. A facet of that jewel. And in the perspective of infinity, our differences are infinitesimal."YouTube
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"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else." Pittsburgh History Journal
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"We all have different gifts, so we all have different ways of saying to the world who we are." CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
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"Love and trust, in the space between what’s said and what’s heard in our life, can make all the difference in this world." Bettmann/Getty Images
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"We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, 'It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.' Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes."Bettmann/Getty Images
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"Discovering the truth about ourselves is the work of a lifetime, but it's worth the effort." J.DAVID AKE/AFP via Getty Images
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"Deep down, we know that what matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What really matters is helping others win, too." Getty Images
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"This is what I give. I give an expression of care every day to each child, to help him realize that he is unique. I end the program by saying, 'You've made this day a special day, by just your being you. There's no person in the whole world like you; and I like you just the way you are.'" Deborah Feingold/Corbis via Getty Images
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"... you don't ever have to do anything sensational for people to love you. When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see, or hear, or touch."YouTube
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"One of the greatest dignities of humankind is that each successive generation is invested in the welfare of each new generation." Paul Natkin/Getty Images
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"Little by little we human beings are confronted with situations that give us more and more clues that we aren't perfect." Bettmann/Getty Images
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"Superheroes are fascinating to many children, and we can help them know it's not an imaginary superself, but each person's real self that does the really important things in life." Bettman/Getty Images
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"All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors—in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver." Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
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"As we grow, we laugh and cry at many of the same things, and fear many of the same things. At the end, we all leave the same way — by death. Yet no two threads — no two lives — in that vast tapestry of existence have ever been, or ever will be, the same." Eve Fraser Corp/Flickr
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"Children are to be respected and I respect them deeply. They've taught me an awful lot." The Tonight Show/YouTube
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"It's a mistake to think we have to be lovely to be loved by human beings or by God." Brooks Kraft/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
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"There is no normal life that is free of pain. It's the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth." David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
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"Taking care is one way to show your love. Another way is letting people take good care of you when you need it." YouTube
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"In the external scheme of things, shining moments are as brief as the twinkling of an eye, yet such twinklings are what eternity is made of -- moments when we human beings can say 'I love you,' 'I'm proud of you,' 'I forgive you,' 'I'm grateful for you.' That's what eternity is made of: invisible imperishable good stuff." The Mercury News via Getty Images
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"It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression." YouTube
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"The toughest thing is to love somebody who has done something mean to you. Especially when that somebody has been yourself." Paul Morse/George W. Bush Presidential Library/Wikimedia Commons
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"A sense of individual identity is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child. If that gift is not given, children will have to fight for their identities instead." Heinz Kluetmeier/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images
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"Children feel safer when they know what the rules are." Galaxy FM/Flickr
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"When we love a person, we accept him or her exactly as is: the lovely with the unlovely, the strong with the fearful, the true mixed in with the façade, and of course, the only way we can do it is by accepting ourselves that way."Paul Natkin/Getty Images
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"The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile." Fotos International/Courtesy of Getty Images
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"I am opposed to people being programmed by others. My whole approach in broadcasting has always been 'You are an important person just the way you are. You can make healthy decisions.'"Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
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"Love is generally confused with dependence. Those of us who have grown in true love know that we can love only in proportion to our capacity for independence." YouTube
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"Love seems to be something that keeps filling up within us. The more we give away, the more we have to give." Wikimedia Commons
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"From the outsides of people, you certainly can't always tell what's in their hearts. There's so much more to everyone you meet than will ever meet your eye. There are wonderful surprises in all of us." NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
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"The media shows the tiniest percentage of what people do. There are millions and millions of people doing wonderful things all over the world, and they're generally not the ones being touted in the news." Mark Wilson/Getty Images
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"Anything that we can do to help foster the intellect and spirit and emotional growth of our fellow human beings, that is our job. Those of us who have this particular vision must continue against all odds. Life is for service."YouTube
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"Love is like infinity: You can’t have more or less infinity, and you can’t compare two things to see if they’re 'equally infinite.' Infinity just is, and that’s the way I think love is, too." YouTube
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"I don’t think anyone can grow unless he’s loved exactly as he is now, appreciated for what he is rather than what he will be." YouTube
33 Mr. Rogers Quotes That Prove He Was Probably The Kindest Person Ever
Mr. Rogers never needed to yell to get children's attention, and his soft demeanor wasn't an act for television.
Fred McFeely Rogers (yes, that was his middle name) was a real man. One that was, by every count imaginable, the very same man that appeared onscreen. He was so wholesome, it seems, that people made up rumors debunking his purity.
But thankfully, Mr. Rogers had no time for your cynicism. His endgame was the well-being and mental health of every young child. He still is the ultimate embodiment of this cause today — so many years after his death in 2003.
ABC News explores the impact of Mr. Rogers.
He looked to pass that torch on to us — and in a lot of ways, it feels like we're really screwing it up. However, we can look to one of Mr. Rogers's quotes here to know that all hope is not lost. "We all make mistakes as we grow," he insisted. " ... and not only is there nothing wrong with that, there's everything right about it."
So let's put on our virtual cardigans and learn more Mr. Rogers' life, so we can better understand his message. Not only for our children — but for ourselves too.
Mr. Rogers' School Years
Fred Rogers was born on March 20, 1928 in the small town of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He had a tough childhood: He suffered from asthma, and he was bullied for being chubby. "We're going to get you, Fat Freddy," his classmates would say.
"I used to cry to myself when I was alone," he remembers. "And I would cry through my fingers and make up songs on the piano." He also explored his love of puppets and puppetry as a child, using them as a tool to work through anxiety.
Wikimedia CommonsFred Rogers' high school yearbook photo.
After high school, Rogers left Latrobe for New Hampshire's Dartmouth College. He then transferred to Florida's Rollins College after a year and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's in music in 1951.
Let's not glaze over the fact that Mr. Rogers was a great musical talent. His future wife, a pianist herself, would later remember his prowess on the piano.
"He sat right down and started playing some pop stuff. And we were so impressed, because none of us could do that... we couldn't just sit down and play jazz. And he could. He could do it all. So we were very impressed, and... he was fun."
During his senior year of college, he returned home for a visit and found a television in his parents' living room. He immediately saw the potential in this new technology as a tool for learning. Needless to say, he was instantly disappointed by the meaningless, slapstick antics that flashed before him on screen.
Mr. Rogers' destiny had just come calling.
So he put his post-graduate plans of attending seminary and becoming a Presbyterian minister on hold. He would pursue a job in the television industry, so he could help transform it into something with educational merit.
Some of Mr. Rogers' greatest quotes come from his 2002 commencement address at Dartmouth College, which he delivered less than a year before he died.
Mr. Rogers landed his first television job on NBC's Kate Smith Hour in New York in 1951, the same year he graduated college. The next year, he married his college sweetheart, Joanne.
After that, Pittsburgh's WQED-TV hired him to write and produce a program called The Children's Corner with host Josie Carey. He was thankful for the ability to move back closer to home and was soon promoted to station program manager.
With a foot in the door and a job with creative input, Mr. Rogers spent his time on The Children's Corner writing songs and developing puppets, many of whom would later be regulars on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
He also decided to continue with his theology studies on a part-time basis. He earned his divinity degree in 1962, ordained with the special mission to use television as a means to educate children.
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Another Fred stepped in and nudged Rogers in front of the camera. Fred Rainsberry, the head of youth programming at the CBC in Canada, invited him to do a show on Canadian television. They called it Misterogers. This new opportunity varied from his work in the United States; Rogers interacted with children directly onscreen.
In 1966, Rogers returned once again to Pittsburgh with the rights to Misterogers. He incorporated elements from his previous programs to create the PBS show for which he is known and loved, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
There were no special effects, no animations. Rogers simply fostered self-esteem, tolerance, kindness, creativity, and empathy in young viewers. He focused mostly on the inner lives of children and speaking to them as their equal, not as a blustering authoritarian.
Fred Rogers' Lasting Legacy
The show that bears his name is far from Mr. Roger's only crowning achievement.
Mr. Rogers famously challenged funding cuts for public television in a 1969 U.S. Senate hearing. Sen. John O. Pastore, the chairman of the subcommittee, was unmoved for the first days of proceedings, but Rogers' speech touched him.
"I'm supposed to be a pretty tough guy, and this is the first time I've had goose bumps for the last two days," Pastore said. "Looks like you just earned the $20 million."
Rogers successfully sued the Ku Klux Klan in 1990 over using his voice likeness and show sound effects on recorded telephone messages, and President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002 for his service to children. This ceremony took place 7 short months before Fred Rogers died of stomach cancer on Feb. 27, 2003.
We've been without Mister Rogers' Neighborhood for 18 years, just enough time for the Rogers-deprived generation to be teetering on adulthood. It bears the question: Do we need Mr. Rogers now more than ever? Are we living up to his expectations?
When asked about her late husband's politics in 2018, Joanne Rogers said that Fred, although a lifelong Republican, had values that are "almost completely opposite" of America's current leader.
When asked if she thought Fred, who mainly stayed out of politics, would have spoken up about that, she nodded. "I think he might have to."
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.