Finding strength and hope in Mr. Rogers

Apr 16, 2013 By Craig Blumenshine, Sports Writer

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mothers' words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world," Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood said.

I remembered those words again today. I can't do a better job than Mr. Rogers in trying to begin to understand what happened yesterday in Boston when bombs exploded at Heartbreak Hill near the finish line of one of our nation's greatest sporting events or when tragedy befell Newtown months ago, and at all times, quite frankly, when violence has affected our lives.

If you haven't already, say a prayer for those who were killed or injured yesterday at the Boston Marathon, for Bostonians and for all of us.

And, parents, remember more words from Mr. Rogers:

"Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to give our children all the reasons for such things as war, terrorists, abuse, murders, major fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. If they ask questions, our best answer may be to ask them, 'What do you think happened?' If the answer is 'I don't know,' then the simplest reply might be something like, 'I'm sad about the news, and I'm worried. But I love you, and I'm here to care for you.'

If we don't let children know it's okay to feel sad and scared, they may think something is wrong with them when they do feel that way. They certainly don't need to hear all the details of what's making us sad or scared, but if we can help them accept their own feelings as natural and normal, their feelings will be much more manageable for them.

Angry feelings are part of being human, especially when we feel powerless. One of the most important messages we can give our children is, 'It's okay to be angry, but it's not okay to hurt ourselves or others.' Besides giving children the right to their anger, we can help them find constructive things to do with their feelings. This way, we'll be giving them useful tools that will serve them all their life, and help them to become the worlds' future peacemakers --the world's future 'helpers.'"

I couldn't help but notice one women in yesterday's Boston Marathon who, at the exact moment the first bomb exploded, was just a few feet away from the finish line, arms high in celebration, her body filled with ultimate joy for accomplishing one of her life's dreams.

As hard as it is, let's allow her spirit and the will and effort of yesterday's athletes and helpers to carry us forward, make us stronger, and, I pray, make us more united.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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