“By Just Your Being You”

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Fred Rogers closed every episode of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood with the same statement:

You make each day a special day. You know how, by just your being you. There’s only one person in this whole world like you.

He said this daily with emphasis and intention. Occasionally, he said it with playfulness. He always meant it, and young children across the United States internalized this message inside themselves. They came to believe it. Very likely, many came to memorize it, and in anticipation, they said it along with him, either aloud or inside their own minds.

You make each day a special day. You know how, by just your being you. There’s only one person in this whole world like you.

This was a litany of sorts. A daily recitation.

We might also call it liturgy.

Liturgy literally means, “Work of the people” — sacred words voiced, shared, and enacted. Perhaps in these days, we need to voice, share, and enact the convictions behind this daily statement.

You make each day a special day. You know how, by just your being you. There’s only one person in this whole world like you.

And maybe part of our work as a people is to internalize these words inside ourselves as well.

After all, I notice one intriguing word in this daily liturgy. It’s the word your. Fred Rogers could have easily said, “You make each day special. You know how, by just being you.” But instead, he added the word your. “You know how, by just your being you.” His phrasing is actually a bit more clunky than it has to be.

But it’s also important. We are invited to know our specialness, worth, and value as ours. We are encouraged to be in relationship with ourselves — “being you” — knowing that even in our days of doubt, we are worth loving. We can live in conversation with this reality, recognizing when we are living in alignment with its values and when we have temporarily acted outside of them. We can always return.

And this isn’t ego, a way of setting ourselves against others or above others. It is a reality we live in relationship with others. So we hear and speak it again in relationship:

You make each day a special day. You know how, by just your being you. There’s only one person in this whole world like you.

And we come to make it ours.

Renee Roederer

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