Almost every year for the last 10 years I have taken my Day of Reflection on my birthday. It’s a wonderful opportunity to focus on quiet time to think and reflect. This year, I spent a lot of time thinking about emotional wellness and reflecting on how we identify and manage our emotions.
Emotions are a tricky thing. We want to be strong and appear capable and so we often mask our emotions and our vulnerabilities. Our boys are taught not to cry and women in the workplace are judged as weak or unstable if they display strong emotions.
Nurturing our emotional wellness is a lifelong pursuit that starts as children. It turns out that there is still a lot to learn as adults from Mister Rogers and now Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. I grew up watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood. Mister Rogers taught me that lots of ways of feeling are fine, and he taught me how to manage my emotions with, “What do you do with the mad that you feel?” Mister Rogers taught us that our feelings should be mentionable and manageable.
“When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we’re not alone.” – Fred Rogers
I have a 6-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl, so I am getting to relive the social and emotional development training that we get as kids (which I see as a good thing for me!). They watch the show, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, on PBS Kids. It is a spin-off of Mister Rogers Neighborhood and has been such a warm and entertaining learning experience for them. The song my kids learned has a tiger spin, “When you feel so mad that you want to roar!” I have to admit, I’ve seen my 2-year-old roar when she is upset. She’s still working on taking a deep breath and counting to four!
There is something incredible that happens when we can talk about feeling sad, disappointed, angry, and excited and then identify what to do and how to manage those feelings. I know most of you won’t tune in to Daniel Tiger, but you could check out “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” for a trip down memory lane and a reminder to show kindness to ourselves and others.