“A mind at peace, a mind focused on not harming others, is stronger than any physical force in the universe.”


This quote, simple yet eloquent, represents my philosophy of life. That, and the knowledge that a good homemade cookie is sometimes needed for medicinal purposes. Also, if you want to gauge your level of self-realization in this world, ask your cat (I’m feeling pretty good about myself this morning; I woke up with a cat sleeping on my chest, and the other curled up at my side. Then again, it was 40 degrees in Orlando this morning….).

While I can loftily proclaim my philosophy of peace, I can’t claim that I exemplify it (as the recent dent in the laminate floor in my living room can attest).

I am a mess. I’ve made some ridiculous choices in my life, a couple for which I will never forgive myself. Mistakes galore (see: laminate floor, above). The good news is that I finally did start to grow up, even if I did wait until my early 30s to do so. But growing up meant going back to some very basic ideas picked up from a man in a cardigan over 40 years ago.

I’ve learned that there’s no justification for hurting someone’s feelings. That you can’t build your happiness on a foundation of someone else’s pain. That you shouldn’t say anything about anyone that you aren’t willing to say to his or her face. I’ve learned, from being ‘found’ on Facebook by now-adult former students, that the tiniest gesture will plant a seed that grows into a forever-memory.

Yes, some of you are probably rolling your eyes at this point, singing “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood….”

I attended the “Good Neighbor Conference” at Fred Rogers’ Alma Mater, Rollins College, recently. I was surrounded by people sporting the Conference t-shirt: “WWFRD?”

I think Mister Rogers’ mind was at peace. He definitely was focused on not harming others. He welcomed everyone as his neighbor. I think that’s why I loved him as a little girl (and I’ll admit it now, as a bigger girl too).

Yes, it’s basic. Yes, it’s simple. No, I’m not so great at living it sometimes. But really, What Would Fred Rogers do? He’d follow the Golden Rule.

I’ve probably only made it to the Bronze Rule so far in this life, but I guess I’ll put on my virtual cardigan and carry on the best I can.

Hopefully I’ll strike gold eventually.

Peace, friends (is that too cheesy? “peace, friends?”)

One thought on “WWFRD?

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