Stories of Kindness from Around the World

You Can Be My Neighbor Just As You Are

--by Modestobob, posted Aug 17, 2009

As a youngster, there was nothing I liked better than Sunday afternoons at my grandfather's farm in western Pennsylvania. Surrounded by miles of winding stone walls, the house and barn provided endless hours of fun for a city kid like me. I was used to neat-as-a-pin parlors that seemed to whisper, “Not to be touched!”

I can still remember one afternoon when I was eight years old. Since my first visit to the farm, I'd wanted more than anything to be allowed to climb the stone walls surrounding the property. My parents would never approve. The walls were old. Some stones were missing, and others were loose and crumbling. Still, my yearning to scramble across those walls grew so strong that finally, one spring afternoon, I summoned all my courage and entered the living room, where the adults had gathered after Sunday dinner.

“I, uh. I wanna climb the stone walls,” I said hesitantly. Everyone looked up. “Can I climb the stone walls?”

Instantly a chorus went up from the women in the room. “Heavens, no!” they cried in dismay. “You'll hurt yourself!”

I wasn't too disappointed. The response was just as I'd expected. Yet, before I could leave the room, I was stopped by my grandfather's booming voice.

“Now hold on just a minute,” I heard him say. “Let the boy climb the stone walls. He has to learn to do things for himself.”

“Scoot,” he said to me with a wink. “And come see me when you get back.”

For the next two and a half hours I climbed those old walls - and had the time of my life. Later I met with my grandfather to tell him about my adventures. I'll never forget what he said.

“Fred,” he said, grinning, “You made this day a special day just by being yourself. Always remember, there's only one person in this whole world like you, and I like you exactly as you are.”

Many years have passed since then, and today I host the television program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, seen by millions of children throughout America. There have been changes over the years, but one thing remains the same: my message to children at the end of almost every visit. "There's only one person in this whole world like you," the kids can count on hearing me say, “and people can like you exactly as you are.”

- Fred Rogers

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Readers Comments

Nataleigh wrote: Lol that was. What’s the word. Let’s just say better than amazing! Thank you for sharing
grammagussie wrote: Thanks for a very uplifting story, you had me going for awhile when you called yourself Fred?lol Thanks for sharing...I Love your stories.SmileyCentral.comLove grammagussie

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