I turned a youthful 52 years of age on October 8th. If anything, I’ve always treated my birthday as a special day of reflection on my life … how far I’ve come, and how much more there is left to do, God willing. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the ability to accept and expect mistakes and deal with the disappointment they bring. It’s a belief that Mister Rogers held dear and taught on his children’s program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. As a child, I grew up watching Mister Rogers.
As an adult, I’m going back and rewatching many of the episodes and scenes I watched as a kid. I am grateful his show is as much alive today and it was when I was a kid, even though Mister Rogers died on February 27, 2003. It’s as though Mister Rogers is teaching me elementary truths all over again. I am committed to lifelong learning and feel like Mister Rogers is helping me take my growth to another level.
My birthday reflection landed on this wonderful duet by Lady Aberlin and Daniel Tiger where they talk and sing about mistakes. Mister Rogers understood there is a deeper level to understanding who you are and that’s it’s not easy to quiet a doubt. Here is some of the conversation:
- Daniel Tiger
- Sometimes I wonder if I’m a mistake
- Somtimes I dream I’m just a fake
- I’m not like anyone else I know
- The way I look
- The way I talk
- The way I love
- Lady Aberlin
- You’re no mistake
- You’re not a fake
- You’re fine exactly the way you are
- The way you look
- They way you talk
- The way you love. Especially that.
I didn’t always have clarity and confidence in who I am. It seems like life has a way of conditioning self-doubt. I often felt like I wasn’t good enough … in school, in football, as a son, as a brother, as a husband, as a father, as a professional. I often felt like I was a mistake. As Mister Rogers so eloquently said during an interview, “I think that those who would try to make you feel less than who you are … I think that’s the greatest evil.” Indeed, Mister Rogers. That is the greatest evil. Thank you for being such a beautiful counterbalance.
I am not a mistake. Neither are you. Now that I know God wired me to be a coach, I am motivated to teach what I’m (re)learning from Mister Rogers.
God is not unjust. He will not forget our work and the love we have shown him as we help our “neighbors.” He wants each of us to show this same diligence to the very end so that what we hope for may be fully realized. He does not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherited what has been promised, just as Mister Rogers did.