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The Garden of Your Mind

I saw a video on YouTube last week. I watched it once. Then again. Then again. I’m officially addicted to it. It’s only been online for a week, and it’s already been viewed more than 4 million times. (Watch it, and you’ll understand why. It’s like Pringles. You can’t watch it just once.) It’s a digital re-mix of Mr. Rogers.

You remember his PBS show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood? Well, John D. Boswell of Symphony of Science took some of the most profound things that Mr. Rogers ever had to teach us and set it all to music, then arranged it in a beautiful video for PBS Digital Studios.

If you have children, you’ll want them to see this! Heck, even if you don’t have kids, you’ll want to see it.

Compared to popular and flashy cartoons, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood can seem dull. The camera takes long, slow shots. Time inches forward with tiny little steps. And Mr. Rogers himself is always so meek, so unassuming. You watch him have a conversation with someone. Then he has a conversation with the camera. Then he has a conversation with someone else. It’s quiet, simple, gentle.

Yet, it’s arguably some of the best children’s programming ever to have aired for younger viewers.

That’s because Mr. Rogers actually taught kids how to be. Watch the video for a glimpse into the simple wisdom that guided him.

Gah. I always tear up when he says, “Imagine every person that you see is somewhat different from every other person in the world.” It reminds me of that C.S. Lewis quote in The Weight of Glory:

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal…it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners — no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.”

Given that Mr. Rogers was himself a Presbyterian minister, I guess that’s no surprise.

I’m also drawn to the idea that it’s good to be curious, and that everyone has something to teach us.

So, what does this have to do with food?

Not much. Not really. I can think of some ideas if I really — s   t   r   e   t   c   h  — for it.

This video’s mostly about being a healthy soul, an authentic human, a person who thinks and imagines. So, I apologize for the break in the regularly scheduled updates on food politics, health, & nutrition topics.

Hopefully, you’ll have enjoyed this little time out as much as I did.

What’s your favorite part of the video?

Please share. I really want to know.

(photo by PBS Kids)

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.

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36 Responses to The Garden of Your Mind
  1. Kresha @ Nourishing Joy
    June 13, 2012 | 6:10 pm

    Oh, my goodness. I just posted this on my blog too, for so many of the same reasons you’ve listed. You are so right – it’s addictive in the best way. :-)

    http://www.nourishingjoy.com/mr-rogers-garden-of-your-mind/

    My favorite part of the video is the line, “It’s good to be curious about many things.” It’s what I long to nurture in my own children.

    As always, I am so grateful for your blog. And what could be better than C.S. Lewis on one of my favorite Real Food blogs? I think I died and went to heaven. Thank you as always for food that nourishes – today you’ve nourished our souls. :)

    • KristenM
      June 13, 2012 | 9:02 pm

      Thanks, Kresha! What kind words.

  2. Amy
    June 13, 2012 | 9:35 pm

    Can’t say I have a favorite part but I love it! That was really neat – thank you for sharing.

    • KristenM
      June 13, 2012 | 9:51 pm

      You’re welcome!

  3. Leola
    June 13, 2012 | 9:46 pm

    I totally agree with Kresha! Mr. Rogers and C.S. Lewis in the same post? Heaven! Refreshing! Lovely! Thanks for sharing, Kristen.

    • KristenM
      June 13, 2012 | 9:52 pm

      Aw, shucks. You’re welcome.

  4. Jen
    June 13, 2012 | 9:50 pm

    This takes me back to my childhood, and awesome memories. I loved Mr. Rogers Neighborhood!

  5. Naomi
    June 13, 2012 | 9:52 pm

    All you have to do is think, and they’ll grow!

    I loved this too!

    • KristenM
      June 14, 2012 | 12:45 am

      Such a beautiful metaphor!

  6. Dawn @ Small Footprint Family
    June 13, 2012 | 9:54 pm

    That was AWESOME! And yes, I had to see it again. :) Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Kim @ The Soulicious Life
    June 14, 2012 | 8:58 am

    Wow, that was a great way to start my day! I will have to share on my blog and hope it brings back as many good memories for some of my readers as it did for me. I watched so much Mr. Rogers growing up! Like Naomi, my favorite phrase in it was “all you have to do is think, and they’ll grow!”

  8. Leah
    June 14, 2012 | 10:05 am

    I love Fred Rodgers <3

    I don't have a favorite part

  9. patti
    June 14, 2012 | 11:07 am

    Kristen…THANK YOU.
    How it did my heart good to revisit Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and his simple,wholesome ways of teaching. I also loved getting a glimpse into your heart (as I’m rather new to your blog)and understanding a bit of what “makes you tick”. I’m grateful…and see that we have more than just a little in common. Obviously we’ll have a looong time to get to know each other! ;)

  10. Sarah Atshan via Facebook
    June 14, 2012 | 2:01 pm

    My bf showed it to me the other day. I got kinda teary. Love Mister Rogers.

  11. Melanie Vallely via Facebook
    June 14, 2012 | 2:06 pm

    Gah! I seriously couldn’t watch that without tears in my eyes. And it makes me miss those simple “good old days.”

  12. Fawn Hoagland via Facebook
    June 14, 2012 | 2:22 pm

    he’s what got me through a lot of my childhood! Wish there was a way to share this show with my boys….but alas there are no DVD’s on sale anywhere! and PBS doesn’t show it anymore :(

  13. Fawn Hoagland via Facebook
    June 14, 2012 | 2:30 pm
  14. Elisabeth Carol Harvey McCumber via Facebook
    June 14, 2012 | 3:00 pm

    I tear up at the same moment as you!

  15. Esme Real-Lee via Facebook
    June 14, 2012 | 3:32 pm

    Another friend shared it and I shared it … I think it’s going viral. It is totally what Mr. Rogers was about and why I loved that my kids watched his show.

  16. Jessica Fey via Facebook
    June 14, 2012 | 4:05 pm

    I adore this and Mr. Rogers. My 20 month old is running around and dancing to it! Thanks for sharing! I already posted it on my timeline!

  17. Wendi Wilkins
    June 14, 2012 | 4:50 pm

    I love “the garden of your mind” analogy. Plus, you can tie it to nourishing, real food that way! Thank you, Kristen!

  18. Brittany
    June 14, 2012 | 5:03 pm

    “There are so many things to learn about in this world. And so many people who can help us learn.”

    It reminds me of some of the profound things that I’ve learned from some of the most unlikely people.

  19. Joyness Sparkles
    June 14, 2012 | 6:08 pm

    Oh goodness…this brought back so many memories! I hated weekends when Mister Rogers was not on. I looked forward to his program every single day and loved to learn from him and the Neighborhood of Make Believe.

    I have no doubt that much of what I teach my children now comes from what I learned from Mister Roders. The world is a better place because of all the lives he touched. :)

  20. Kay Banning via Facebook
    June 14, 2012 | 6:41 pm

    I adore this! Thanks to Fawn Hoagland for posting the link to his videos!!!

  21. Nina Kilbride Sheehan
    June 14, 2012 | 6:52 pm

    I saw this last week! And I had the SAME reaction as you! I absolutely love this and feel that the most important thing we can teach our children and ourselves is to be authentic and to respect and appreciate that in others. He was a great man and every time I listen to this I am moved. What a legacy he has left…….

  22. Plant Stands
    June 14, 2012 | 7:37 pm

    Right, what we nurture grows and we have to pay attention to keep the weeds from taking over.

  23. Keren
    June 14, 2012 | 8:07 pm

    I remember that this book was published soon after Mr. Rogers passed away:

    The World According to Mr. Rogers, by Fred Rogers

    It has some of his best quotes.

    I loved watching Mr. Rogers with my nephews and my son.

  24. Annette
    June 14, 2012 | 9:01 pm

    My husband sent me this video a few days ago. It makes me smile so big.

  25. Bebe
    June 15, 2012 | 5:30 pm

    “…all you have to do is think, and they’ll grow” yep, that’s my favorite line.
    I also loved it when his eyes popped as he said the word “mind”.
    My oldest child is 38 now and my youngest is 13. All of my children grew up with Mr. Rogers and even though they were often more excited about watching something with a little more pizzazz they still chose to watch Mr. Rogers any time he was on. I think that says a lot.

  26. Walter Jeffries
    June 18, 2012 | 3:13 pm

    Most excellent! My wife was Mr. Roger’s neighbor when she was a little girl. Literally.

  27. Nancy Harris
    June 19, 2012 | 12:37 pm

    The video made me think about how simple life used to be and how we used to use our minds more and question things instead of taking other peoples words.

  28. Sarah @ Your Healthy Home Biz
    June 19, 2012 | 12:56 pm

    Nancy, I’m with you – the thing that stood out to me was “Have you ever tried to grow things in the garden of your mind/ You can just think of things and they’ll grow.”

    In our hyper-info age, we’ve lost touch with simple, real aspects of living, thinking and imagining. Bringing this around to food – this is what I love about farming. That it is real. And it allows my mind to work – mull, ponder, problem-solve, create – thoughts percolate in ways they don’t when I’m online and interpreting, reacting to the constant flow of ideas and information. Like I am here. Real food comes from real problem solving, creative work and hard work. It takes imaginative, observant, watchful, creative people to work with nature to yield a harvest.

  29. Leslie
    June 20, 2012 | 9:59 am

    As we love our families and friends by offering life-giving food, thank you for reminding us that it’s just as important to love, value and nurture their souls as God’s own creation. Mister Rogers seemed to treat others with wonder and care, as if they were from the Lord Himself.

    This is one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes. Reminds me to consider others as God sees them.

    I love your website! Thank you so much!

  30. Dawn
    June 20, 2012 | 7:48 pm

    Since one of my favorite book seems to be what he is referencing (As a Man Thinketh) I love the, “you can grow anything in the garden of your mind.” Thanks for sharing.

  31. Maria Davis
    May 23, 2013 | 6:36 pm

    I love Mr. Rogers! He was such a gentle soul. And I love Symphony of Science. So glad they felt Mr. Rogers was worth putting to music. I just saw a Youtube video of Koko the gorilla (who communicates with sign language) meeting Mr. Rogers, whom she had seen on TV. She signs that she loves him. It’s so lovely. Thank you for your blog. Food Renegade on FB shares a lot of your stuff – I am a fan!

  32. Faith
    May 23, 2013 | 9:00 pm

    I liked the message of this video. Mr. Rogers was awesome – I loved watching him, even as an older kid. Can you imagine if there were more Mr. Rogers in this world?

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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