Just the Way You Are

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Like millions of kids who grew up between 1970 and 2001, our son watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood almost every weekday for many years. It was popular to satirize the slow-paced, folksy mannerisms of Mister Rogers, but the impact he had on America’s children and on their families is immeasurable. Generations of kids loved and trusted this caring adult who spoke directly to them in the most personal and respectful way.

Of course, moms and dads watching the program learned things, too. Many of us adopted the language Mr. Rogers used in speaking to our own children.

To me, his most powerful words were those he used to close his show each day: “I like you just the way you are.”

Around our house, those words are repeated often—substituting the word “love” for “like.” We try to live by them, striving to accept each other exactly the way we are.

Today, practice Mr. Rogers’s motto, accepting others just the way they are and being grateful for the uniqueness of each person.

This originally appeared as the September 8 entry of Choosing Gratitude 365 Days a Year by James A. Autry and Sally J. Pederson.

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