Hello, Neighbor

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“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” may have been an educational program for children, but we all can learn from the popular show’s delightfully inimitable host.

Even actor Tom Hanks, who portrayed Fred Rogers in the 2019 blockbuster “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” learned three valuable life lessons from Rogers as he was researching the role. Here, as reported on Inc.’s website, is what Hanks said he learned about better connecting with people:

  1. Connecting with people isn’t about selling them something. Although Rogers was an ordained minister, he never mentioned his faith on his show and never tried to push his beliefs on his viewers. Instead, he bonded with them through empathy.
  2. Everyone needs to express vulnerability. In times of crisis, leaders are asked to be strong, but it doesn’t mean they don’t struggle, too. Rogers taught kids that it’s OK if you’re not happy all the time, according to the Inc. article. He shared his feelings, both joyful and sad, openly with them.
  3. Communication is not a zero-sum game. Resist the natural temptation to dwell on who’s right and who’s wrong, instead focusing on the issue at hand so a solution can be found.

If these things worked for Fred Rogers, they can work for you, too. And if you give them a try, you may just find yourself having a much better day in your neighborhood.

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