This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.
If you have never seen the video of Mr Rogers testifying before the US Congress in 1969, it is something remarkable:
I love this video, in so many ways.
I love the conversation, the simple conversation he has with Senator Pastore. There is no convincing going on here, no badgering, no carefully designed statement. It is 100% pure sharing. Mr Rogers creates who he’s created himself to be, what he’s up to, and creates what he sees possible. He shares possibility, calmly, authentically, and without pretense or guff. And it lands.\
I love watching Senator Pastore travel from animosity, to interest, to being fully aligned. You can see the moments when he too begins to see what’s possible, and what that would mean, how things could be. He is visibly moved and inspired.
I love when Mr Rogers himself gets who he is and the magnitude of it all. That moment when he pauses… “This is what… This is what I give.” That gap is so powerful as he himself gets and is clear, in that very moment, who he has created himself to be in the world. It’s touching.
But above all I love this one line, this one line just spoken into existence in the midst of it all, and the profound possibility and amazingness that exist within it and all that it encompasses:
“make it clear that feelings are mentionable, and manageable”
What an amazing line. “Feelings are mentionable, and manageable.” What an amazing space it creates. What an amazing space that could be. A space where we are human, and we have emotions. And, at the very same time, a space where we are human, and are not be ruled by our emotions. It is a beautiful expression of the middle path: we need not be stuck either ignoring (or, at best, viewing our emotions with suspicion) or going the other end and bouncing all over at the effect of them. We embrace the fullness of our experience(s), make them part of us, and move forward wholly.
Even more powerfully, it also speaks to a space where we can share our emotions with others, and be honoured for them, rather than be ridiculed. A space where we can work out our upsets by honouring each other’s upsets and emotions. A space where we aren’t labelled by our emotions. A space of greater and more clear communication.* A space where we needn’t hide.
A space where we can be we.
What an amazing possibility. One worth well more than twenty million dollars.
* – For when we are not honouring or listening to or sharing or being receptive to that part of our human makeup, either ours or theirs, our messages get thrown and misinterpreted and interrupted.