Yesterday I talked about my resolution to be “good enough” and to “shine one little corner of the world.” I mentioned Mr. Rogers and how he often told his viewers, “I like you just the way you are.” Suzuki Roshi told his students the same thing, but with a twist. He said,
“Each of you is perfect the way you are...and you can use a little improvement.”
If I can lighten up on myself, I know it will help give me the courage to make improvements. (Like many people I know, I can be hard on myself and get too discouraged to work on improvements.) Writing this blog is self improvement practice. Writing down—and sharing—my thoughts about teaching and living ought to help me learn more about...teaching and living. *
It turns out that Mr. Rogers, the guy who was always telling his viewers, “I like you just the way you are,” wasn’t easy on himself. He strove to improve. The love of his life, his wife, Mrs. Fred Rogers, writes,
“He worked hard at being the best he could be. In fact, it seems to me he worked a lot more than he played. Discipline was his very strong suit. If I were asked for three words to describe him, I think those words would be courage, love, and discipline—perhaps in that order.”
The little improvements I wish for me are the same that I wish for you: May you feel safe, happy, and kind, and may you help others feel that way, too.
*It’s really encouraging to hear from readers who like this newsletter. You don’t have to be a blogger to write a comment. Just choose an identity and chime in. Otherwise, a lonely blogger may imagine that he’s sending out messages that evaporate in the ether. My sister said, “Only mothers read blogs.” Well, that won’t work for me, unless heaven’s online. (Just in case: Hello, Mom. I love you.) So, please, write.
(See where it says "Post a Comment" in underlined fine print down there, just a little? Click on it, and write in the text box that comes up soon as you've clicked.