Much more the same

The differences are obvious, but so are the similarities. Mandarin Pair © Francis C. Franklin CC-BY-SA-3.

The differences are obvious, but so are the similarities.
Mandarin Pair © Francis C. Franklin CC-BY-SA-3.

“As different as we are from one another, as unique as each one of us is, we are much more the same than we are different.”Fred Rogers

Perhaps Mr. Rogers touched so many hearts because he understood this truth.  All of us have fears, sorrows, flaws and deficits.  Each of us has hopes, dreams, abilities and gifts.  When I remember this, it’s easier to care about people, and harder to be angry with them.

It has been more than twelve years now since Mr. Rogers left the neighborhood he created for us, but his legacy lives on.  A few months before he died, he recorded this beautiful message to us, which my nephew Ryan sent me recently when it was re-broadcast.  I wanted to share it with you, along with some of my favorite words of wisdom from a man whose gentle strength continues to influence my life.

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for our children (and for each other) is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.”

“Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.”

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of  disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” 

I wish you a beautiful day in your neighborhood!



  1. Thank you, Julia! You have been a helper many times, to me! And you have inspired me to pass it along.
    God bless you.

    • Susan, thank you so much! Such encouragement means a great deal to me. Hope you have a lovely week!

  2. raynard

    Julia thank you. We are still unpacking” stuff and ” mentally unpacking. My wife’s aunt loves her room. My dogs have plenty of company in our new building. Getting ready to get them groomed so they can” have their spring haircuts to ” show off at the dog park”. Possible second” Cannonball Run for 2015 will be back your way. Is Spring break a good time to visit? Hope you Jeff and Matt are”thawing out’ and”ready for Spring to be sprung”.. Last to sum this up, I heard this line in a movie( Johnny Depp), ” The problem is not the problem, it’s your atitude towards the problem..I try and make sure my family and I to include my wife’s aunt, get enough news not be be overwhelmed but to stay sensitive, humble and on our knees.. Be blessed..

    • Raynard, I am so happy to hear that your move is going well and E likes her room! If there are lots of dogs, that’s a good sign in my book. YES, it’s quite a trick to get just enough news and not too much, especially now with 24-hour “panic now” news stories designed to draw in more viewers. So often, the problem really isn’t the problem, or as I often say to Jeff, “this is not about what it’s about.” We are finally getting some lovely warm weather. Spring break might be a good time depending on when your spring break is. Email me with some dates — I hope we will be able to work something out this time around! Good luck with the unpacking and have a great week!

  3. Good Monday morning, my friend in another neighborhood, but yet so close! As I read this, it was like the words came to me in Mr. Rogers voice. I so enjoyed the message you shared (from Ryan) and I listened to a few others that were near and dear to me. You and I share the mutual love of Mr. Rogers and his gentle strength. Beautiful blog to start our week! ❤️

    • Thank you Sheila. From one Fred Rogers fan to another, “I like you just the way you are…it’s such a good feeling to know we’re friends.” 🙂 ❤

  4. I’ve never seen the entire quote before, but I’ve shared the abbreviated quote often, especially after a horrific news event or natural disaster.

    He was a brilliant caring man. He gave much to this world, and left an amazing legacy. Nice post, Julia.

  5. Julia,
    I remember Mr. Rogers well. My nieces and nephews grew up with him.
    Where there are caring people, God is there as well. In knowing that, many will find hope.

    • Thank you, Alan. I believe Mr. Rogers understood that, when he chose children’s ministry as his life work (he was an ordained Presbyterian minister). I have enjoyed reading articles and essays about Mr. Rogers that talked about how he shared his faith in person, in ways he was unable to do on television (due to regulations). But he always understood that it wasn’t about preaching anyway, but about being a light in darkness, which he did so very well. Thanks for being here. Hope your spring is on the way!

      • I agree, Julia.
        His approach and disposition toward his work, if not in word but certainly in deed, revealed God’s presence. I’m sure he did all for the Glory of God. That cannot be constrained by regulations.
        Spring is showing itself a little more each day.

        • Alan, what a good thought to keep in mind! I’m glad you are seeing signs of spring.

      • Anon E. Moose

        Julia, I agree with others who have responded here saying you are a “helper”. Please know that one who needs a helper for today (and succeeding days) is probably not able to see your blog. I can give you hisphone, to which you can send a text, if you like. But rest assured whenever he reads this post, it will comfort him.

        • Thanks, Eric. If you are thinking of the person I think you are thinking of, he is one of my favorites. I too hope I can be some help to him and his family. I am already getting some text updates from him. I have his phone number from when they came to see us.

  6. Sheila

    Sheila & Bill

    • Thank you Sheila! I had “the luck of the Irish” when I “met” you online! ❤

  7. MaryAnn

    What a peaceful, pleasing post! Thank you for pointing out our “sameness”. That is a wonderful springboard from which to unite us. I will look for “matches” today. 😉 Mr. Rogers was a great source of hope & encouragement (such as yourself). The 3rd paragraph about what his mother taught him about the news is inspiring.

    • Hi Mary Ann, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I find it comforting to look for the helpers. I think it was Jeff who first showed me that particular quote. I appreciate your kind words about me.

  8. Ryan

    Fred Rogers was indeed a wise man. Glad you could share this with your audience, Gia. Love you and thinking of you all.

    • Thank you, Ryan. I’m so glad you sent me that clip. Just when I think there is nothing else out there about Mr. Rogers that I haven’t already seen or read, something else pops up. His influence was surprisingly widespread. Love to you and your sweet family!

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