“Feelings are mentionable and manageable.” — Mr. Rogers

In 1969, Mr. Rogers petitioned the US Senate to not cut $10 million in funding for national television. He wanted to give children a good education — right in their home.

Mr. Rogers understanding of education went beyond math and history. It also included feelings. He said:

“If we in public television can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health.”

That was 50 years ago. Today, mental health is widely discussed. Back then, it was unheard of. Especially for children.

This is the song that won over the grumpy senator in charge of the money — and later improved the mental health of thousands of children. I we can still learn a lot from it today:

What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong…
And nothing you do seems very right?

What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?

It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man.

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