Mr. Rogers: "You Are Special"

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NBC Today Show
Katie Couric
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Video News Report
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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Fred Rogers, star of the long-running children's program, "Mister Roger's Neighborhood," talks about the importance of taking time to reflect on life -- a running theme in his new essay collection for readers of all ages, "You Are Special."



"Mr. Rogers: "You Are Special"." Katie Couric, correspondent. NBC Today Show. NBCUniversal Media. 23 Sep. 1994. NBC Learn. Web. 17 January 2015.


Couric, K. (Reporter). (1994, September 23). Mr. Rogers: "You Are Special". [Television series episode]. NBC Today Show. Retrieved from


"Mr. Rogers: "You Are Special"" NBC Today Show, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 09/23/1994. Accessed Sat Jan 17 2015 from NBC Learn:


Mr. Rogers: “You Are Special”

KATIE COURIC: In this complicated world, it's sometimes difficult for parents to know what to teach their children about life. But for the past three decades there's been some common sense advice right there on television.

It was 27 years ago that Fred Rogers first brought his imaginative world into America's living rooms to discuss feelings and emotions with children. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood is a fixture of early childhood. And whether he takes them on a trolley ride or sings them a song, Fred Rogers always reminds his viewers that they are special. "You Are Special" is a collection of Mr. Rogers' words of wisdom for people of all ages, whether they're parents or not. Tell me about this book, Fred. I understand that it wasn't really your idea.

Mr. ROGERS: No, it wasn't. Somebody said, `You've given so many speeches and written so many books and newspaper columns and things, why don't you collect all of those in, you know, two or three lines each?' And so this is compilation of things that- that I've thought about for 40 years. It took 40 years to write that book.

COURIC: Forty years of thinking, anyway. What do you think is the--the ma--main or major theme of--of this book? And if there's one sort of theme that--that sort of is--is woven throughout, what would it be? You are special?

Mr. ROGERS: I imagine. That's certainly the beginning of it. And another theme is the thought that we should contemplate, that we should take some time, some silent time, and think about what's important to us. There's a page in that book that asks us to think about the people who have helped us to become who we are today. Now, you just don't turn that page quickly. You, who would you think about as some of the people who were so instrumental in your becoming?

COURIC: My parents.

Mr. ROGERS: Your parents. So I have a feeling that when your daughter grows up, she might say the same thing.

COURIC: I hope so.

Mr. ROGERS: And isn't that wonderful? I mean, I've had teachers and, of course, I've had parents and grandparents who have meant so much to me. My--my grandfather McFeeley used to say, `Freddy, you've made this day a special day by just your being yourself.' Well, that's something I've been able to pass on to lots of children for lots of years.

COURIC: These days it seems, Fred, that so many Americans and so many families are just starved for this kind of guidance. And that, you know, we've read a lot about the lack of values in society and everything going to hell in a hand basket in terms of the American family. Is it salvageable and how?

Mr. ROGERS: Well, I wonder...

COURIC: I mean, that's a huge question, a huge issue, I know.

Mr. ROGERS: I know. Well, that's another book, but we'll talk about that, too. But it seems to me that some of us value information over wonder, and noise over silence. And I feel that we need a lot more wonder and a lot more silence in our lives.

COURIC: It's so hard in this day and age, though, when people are running around frantically and everybody is working so hard. And you said `Take a moment to think' and few people really even do take a moment to think about their priorities, and they only do, oftentimes, sadly enough, when someone dies or a terrible tragedy occurs.

Mr. ROGERS: I know. But you and I have a chance to help people know the value of silence. And as I look through this book, I think of all the times that I have written those little paragraphs and yet, the space that's in between them is the most important part of the book.

COURIC: What the reader does with those words.

Mr. ROGERS: Mm-hmm.