June 9, 2020

Mr. Rogers’ Tips for Compassion

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”—Ephesians 4:29, 30 (KJV)

A famous saying asserts: “You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” I have never tested this homespun philosophy.  It’s a metaphor about communication, too…

Yelling and screaming don’t bring long-lasting, positive results. Calm, two-way conversation can open the door to a meeting of minds.

I’m not a mental-health, or communications, professional. That’s not necessary to sense the widespread fear and rage.  The coronavirus lockdown only adds fuel to the fire.

Today, I’m happy to highlight tips from a man who was the epitome of compassion and composure: Fred Rogers (a.k.a. Mr. Rogers of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.) Generations of Americans grew up watching this educational, but entertaining preschool show. (That includes me.)

The remainder of this article will include a video clip and points from the 2019 Tom Hanks movie: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. The movie is based on an Esquire magazine article written about Fred Rogers in 1998:  “Can You Say…Hero?”. Please see the reprint of the original Tom Junod article here.

People on a subway sing Mr. Rogers’ most famous song (from the movie)

Bible-Based Advice from Fred Rogers (an ordained Presbyterian Minister)

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:”—Ephesians 4:31 (KJV)

Identify and discuss your feelings. Talk it out—in a simple way.
Choose how you respond to your anger. Don’t let it overcome you. Redirect your frustration. (Exercise, pound a lump of clay…)

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”—Ephesians 4:32 (KJV)
Speak in a soft voice; don’t be confrontational.
Forgiveness is not just for the offender. It also lifts a huge burden off the one who does the forgiving.

Other Random Suggestions and Attitudes
Nobody’s a perfect parent. Having kids gives us all the chance to begin again.
Be “real” all the time. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not.
Life is full of stages. We must accept the difficult times as well as the joyful ones:
  • Death/birth
  • Joy/sorrow

My Conclusion

Is your communication laced with honey, or vinegar?

No comments:

Post a Comment