Just the Way You Are

“I like you — Just the way you are.”

fred rogers and little boy

Yes Fred, you have got it.  It’s called Temperament.

I may be your spouse, your parent, your offspring, your friend, or your colleague. If you will allow me any of my own wants, or emotions, or beliefs, or actions, then you open yourself, so that some day these ways of mine might not seem so wrong, and might finally appear to you as right — for me. To put up with me is the first step to understanding me. Not that you embrace my ways as right for you, but that you are no longer irritated or disappointed with me for my seeming waywardness. And in understanding me you might come to prize my differences from you, and, far from seeking to change me, preserve and even nurture those differences. — David Keirsey [Different Drummers, Please Understand Me II]

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
Nelson Mandela

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Fred Rogers would say it in some way, “I like you just the way your are” every day of the week on his children’s TV show.

“He was basically a very shy man. He wasn’t the sort of fellow who got up and made bold statements about what we should be doing for children’s television. He did it in his own way and did it very effectively.”
—Bob “Captain Kangaroo” Keeshan

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood began airing in 1968 and ran for 895 episodes; the last set of new episodes was taped in December 2000 and began airing in August 2001. At its peak, in 1985, 8% of U.S households tuned into the show.

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I Am I Said..

He once said that nowhere felt like home and that he didn’t have many friends. It’s been a lifelong struggle to fit in.”

He grew up in Forties working-class Brooklyn, the son of Polish-Russian Jews. He says of that, “a childhood shapes you and you’re like soft clay when you’re a child, in every respectIf  fans are familiar with my music they are familiar with me,  because the music is a direct reflection of who I am as a person.” 

             ” I got an emptiness deep inside

            And I’ve tried but it won’t let me go..”

He would ride the subway every day to college where he was studying to become a doctor. Having received a guitar for his 15th birthday from his parents, he wrote songs on the train ride.

“The subway was the only time I had privacy and quiet.”

His family were forever moving house in search of better business opportunities, which resulted in him having attended nine different schools at age sixteen.  This lifestyle was forced on him by circumstances and it was instrumental in forming his internal, fiercely self-reliant personality. He says it was there, in his childhood that he developed a pathological resistance to any kind of uniformity.  Along with that and his singing talent he became somewhat of an enigma to those close to him and he was, without exception, excluded from every circle of friends he encountered. He  became a loner, “I don’t fit in” and a necessary condition for his survival. This forced him to create an imaginary friend, as he tells us in ‘Shilo’:

Papa says he’d love to be with you
If he had the time
So you turn to the only friend you can find
There in your mind
Shilo, when I was young
I used to call your name
When no one else
Would come
Shilo, you always came
And we’d play….
Even in adulthood, he has retained the ability to withdraw into a protective world of his own, and at the end of 1976, he said: “I still live in a fantasy world sometimes, because it’s safe.  It’s a cushion,  a protective thing you build, and nothing can hurt me, at least in my own mind.”
He also developed an interest in writing lyrics and realised that music facilitates social interaction and that it helped him to overcome his innate shyness. He would later write ‘Longfellow serenade’ a song of which he was especially fond of, because it took him back to those school days when he was too shy to ask a girl on a date, so he would write her a poem. He would tell us:
“I imagined the poet who writes the words he cannot speak to the woman he wants to woo and win.”
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame  2011, his songs have been covered internationally by many performers from various musical genres. With the exception of the period between 1972 and 1976  when he temporarily bade the stage farewell so as to ‘find himself’ (and spend more time with his family), he has, since the late 1960s, drawn millions of people from all over the world to his concerts. In a 2008 performance in Glastonbury, England alone, the audience totalled more than 170,000 people.

“I have to know myself and I have spent my life trying to know myself.”

He is an American singer-songwriter with a career that has spanned five decades, he has sold over 125 million records worldwide including 48 million in the United States alone. Considered the third most successful adult  contemporary artist ever on the Billboard chart behind Barbra Streisand and Elton John.

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Queen of People’s Hearts

I do things differently, because I don’t go by a rule book, because I lead from the heart, not the head, and albeit that’s got me into trouble in my work, I understand that.  But someone’s got to go out there, love people and show it.

                                I am a free spirit – unfortunately for some.”

dianax1

“This is me, this is me!” exclaimed Princess Diana when she was read Dr. David Keirsey‘s portrait of an Healer Idealist, (INFP).

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The Search and the Re-search

“I didn’t have a sense of purpose.”

“You might as well live a lot, really hard, and not give a shit, because you can always walk through that door. So I started to live as if I could die any day.” [Our emphasis, not hers]

But she couldn’t.

She couldn’t live as if she had no purpose. It wasn’t in her nature.

So she had started her search, not knowing why or how, or even where. She didn’t even know that she was searching.

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Reverence for Life

As a Viking traveler of books and people, I have occasioned to meet a person from a different place, a different time, and a different world, through the labyrinth of books.

Dr. Livingstone, I Presume

Presumably, this is what Henry Stanley said to Dr. David Livingstone, a missionary who had gone into the “wilds of Africa,” and Stanley was paid to find him which took about six months, a difficult and tortuous expedition.

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