Honoring Fred Rogers

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?Mister Rogers In Studio

That simple sentence of “Won’t you be my neighbor?” conjures up the simple song whenever we hear it.  Some of us may be too young or old to have watched “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” as children, but  those of us in the USA know of him.  Currently, the documentary based upon his life is showing in multiple theaters to rave reviews. Many people have told me it brought tears to their eyes.  I know I did not see a dry eye in the house as I left the theater. No explanation for the tears will be given here, as  everyone should experience a movie without a spoiler.

What could have Mr. Rogers meant by “neighbor?”

Dictionary definitions all concur that a neighbor is someone who lives close by. With this vast universe, how could we all live by Mr. Rogers?  The Bible says to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”  Thus, it is safe to assume Mr. Rogers was implying love towards all as we love ourselves.  That’s a heavy concept! For the purpose of analogy, my writing is geared toward those with self love.

Mr. Roger’s Legacy

We already know Fred Rogers promoted tolerance, self esteem and kindness as his legacy. What I did not catch before was that many of his shows were tied in to current events.  Without delving directly into those shows, I think of today’s current climate.  We are technology driven, which is a great thing, but turns ugly when misused. There are the “keyboard warriors” that feel free to say hurtful things they would not voice in person, political sniping,  news media showing the worst of others, people staring at their phones in lieu of conversation, and more.

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Then, there is the wonderful side of technology:  more access to education, formation of friendships,  calls for help being answered, knowledge of the plight of others, promotion of small business…the list goes on.  Mr. Rogers used the technology of television to promote what is good in the world.  What a trailblazer!

 

How can we continue the legacy of Fred Rogers?

Fred Rogers did not have just a “children’s show.”  His shows send us all a message of tolerance, helpfulness, and world peace. This begins with his message of self esteem. Once we have good self esteem, we are able to help others in many ways.  Most of us do help others day to day by offering empathy, smiles and service. That caring touches lives and sends a ripple of goodwill throughout our communities.

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How may we send that ripple across the ocean?  Think of how peaceful the world could be if we simply understood each other!  There are many ways to gain understanding and peace:  mission trips, cultural exchange, podcasts, You Tube, books, initiating conversation with those we perceive to be “different,” visiting cultural fairs, etc.

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Living the Legacy

I challenge myself and each and every one of us to live the legacy of Fred Rogers! Many mission trips are funded by donations through churches or incentives, such as Evolv Health’s Impact trips. You could host a foreign exchange student through CETUSA, whose mission is  reaching out to encourage a lifelong journey of global peace and understanding.”  Here is an educational podcast from a woman living a multicultural life: Petronella..  Ted Talks are informative, inspiring videos on many topics.  Here are the 5 top Ted Talks on Diversity/mulitculturalism:  Ted Talks. Plus, there are a slew of books on Amazon or your local library on a multitude of cultures.

 

By understanding those that appear to be “different” from us, we learn of our similarities, gain new friendships, and in the case of foreign exchange, a new family member.  It starts with the person in the mirror.  As Gandhi said ” be the change you want to see in the world.”

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for more information on student exchange, please visit http://www.cetusa.org or send me a message at:  julie.froberg@cetusa.org

 

 

Aging: An Inspirational Tribute

Dear readers, I took a hiatus due to the passing on of a family member, which I will address here. However, it’s a story of lasting joy! Of course many tears were shed and we are still grieving, but I am referring to the everlasting joy of the family member that transitioned to the after life.

I met this amazing man in 2012 and he ended up becoming my brother in law. I call him amazing for many reasons. First of all, he suffered a debilitating stroke about 12 years ago and never stopped having fun! He threw huge parties complete with live music, enjoyed wagering on sporting events, flirted with the ladies, enjoyed meeting people online, keeping up on current events, staying in touch with siblings, friends and more. He was a doting father and that never changed. When we cleaned out his room, I found inspirational readings, complete with Bible verses.

Secondly, although wheelchair bound, he would “dance” at his parties and worked hard to stand. He always participated to the best of his abilities to transfer from his chair. Working hard with his physical therapist, he never lost hope of living in his own home again and talked of buying a new car. In fact, yearly he visited the Auto Show with my husband.

A little over 3 weeks ago, this dear man suffered a heart attack and ended up in the hospital. The doctors were not optimistic and I entered the hospital room with dread. Holding back tears and hiding my eyes with glasses, there he was, having a little party with his daughter, her friend and a cute nurse! Jokes abounded and he was laughing so hard at one point, that he couldn’t speak!

The dire news of a risky surgery that was not recommended did not perturb him. He stated ” do it! I have a lot of life to live!” The procedure accomplished less than we had hoped for, but his good spirits never wavered. A transition to a good care facility was looked forward to. Two days after the surgery, he was on the phone and enjoying the excellent care and attention of staff. His last conversation with my husband involved compliments of his beautiful and kind nurse.

We met that beautiful and kind nurse the following morning after we received the news of a peaceful and quick passing. She and other staff worked hard to revive him, but he was called away to host parties in heaven.

“A lot of life ” was still lived, as my brother in law put a lot of life into each day. The stories at his celebration of life were full of business accomplishments, fun, golf and laughter. In his honor, it was held at a beautiful country club with wine and fine food. There was never a word spoken of his great suffering, as he always remained “whole ” in attitude.

What legacy will we leave behind? I’m inspired to put challenges of the past behind and live each day with joy!

Baby Steps to Healthy Aging

We all have been told over and over what to do to be healthy: eat less of this, more of that, go to the gym every day, sleep more, walk more, run, skip jump, stress less! I don’t know about you, but I get a bit stressed looking at all these commands.

It’s no wonder we are tempted to tune out, grab a soda and relax in front of the television. We’re told what to do, but in the myriad of choices, where do we begin?

Try starting with one habit you know you should change. If you drink two sodas a day, taper to one and eventually switch the one out to a healthy drink.

There is green tea, sparkling water and natural beverages sweetened with Stevia.

If you love chocolate, find a healthy chocolate. There are dark chocolates bars sweetened with Stevia and lower sugar bars available.

Artificial sweeteners will not do your body good, as your digestive system doesn’t process them in a beneficial way. If you can’t give up your milk chocolate, don’t! Simply reduce the amount you eat. Life shouldn’t be about deprivation.

Do you love fried foods but not the fat? Saute in good fats like coconut or olive oils. Look at investing in an air fryer. I love air frying so much, that I own two!

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Are you addicted to salty, crunchy foods like I am? I take a small handful of gluten free crackers and mix them with raw nuts for a tasty, filling treat. When only chips will do, I dole out a small amount of organic chips, sometimes even mixing those with raw nuts.

Ice cream! We all scream for ice cream! Although it’s not a healthy choice, who doesn’t love a cold and creamy treat on a hot summer day? There are alternatives! If you are feeling adventurous, you can make your own.

Exercise can come in many forms. Choose the method that works best with your schedule. If you don’t have time for the gym, don’t sign up as a member, thinking you will have time later. Exercise at home! If even that seems daunting, take baby steps; literally! Take the stairs, jump in place, dance to a favorite song, walk briskly, just get up and move!

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If you have physical limitations, there are exercises you can do from a chair. Yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi are also less strenuous. Just 10 minutes a day is something!

Lately I’ve been telling myself I’m too busy to do yoga. Today is a new day, and my yoga practice is startng again in a few moments. Which baby steps can you start today? Just one step leads to another.

Aging with Purpose

As we are all aging each day, no matter our current  age, this series on aging applies to us all. We may not want to get older (age) on purpose, but we have no choice.  What we can choose is keeping our attitude young.

Keeping our attitude young may seem a daunting task on those days we are tired and our bones creak. We have work, bills, chores, family and social obligations.  How do we fit in a youthful attitude when our minds are swimming with all we need to do?

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We must have purpose! Why are we working, paying bills, doing chores, etc? Is it security,  a vacation fund, to provide for our families? Those are purposes!  If these are purposes,  why are we still stressed? Where is that magic pill to keep our minds clear and happy?
Many books have been written about finding our “purpose. ” We may meditate,  go to seminars,  synagogues,  churches or mosques.  We leave feeling refreshed,  ready to begin anew, then……we go back to the old “grind.”

Agsin, where is that magic formula or pill to keep us clear, happy and young? This article  originally implied purpose, then said purposes can make us stressed!

The magic formula is one main purpose, or our WHY. What makes you most happy? If that is difficult to pinpoint,  make a list. You may find that many things that make you happy tie into one main purpose.

For example; my happy list  items are: travel,  time with my husband, helping others and feeling healthy. I was able to condense those items into one main purpose: feeding malnourished children.


Feeding malnourished children obviously fulfills helping others. It also takes care of my health,  as the whole foods nutrition I purchase is a social business model similar to Tom’s Shoes. My husband and I are able to spend time together and travel by visiting some of the children we feed, in addition to other trips we qualify for.

Honing in on  my main purpose has renewed my energy and outlook on life! I feel younger than I did 2 decades ago! Your WHY is simply what makes you happiest.  Find It,  pursue it, and age with purpose!

Aging: the Change

Keep reading,  men! This is not about ” THE change ” We are discussing how changes can affect us as we age. We ALL are aging,  even children,  so this isn’t just for “older ” folks.

Think back to when we left the safety of home, routine and our caregivers to venture onto a school bus for the very first time . I think most of us had mixed feelings, including a bit of fear. When we entered the cheerful and bright atmosphere of kindergarten, our fears mostly melted away. Theoretically,  where would we be without any education? Fear wasn’t able to hold us back, as the law requires us to be educated. However, the law does not require us to make changes to age in a healthful manner, so it’s up to us to make adjustments. 

Think of our accomplishments. They all required a change; whether in habit,  attitude, financial risk, values, etc. Now, think of the aging process. We cannot change that. However,  by resisting change, we may be speeding up our physical aging. Young people should also be concerned with this. Right now, you are laying the foundation on which to build your lives.

I still encounter “older” people that resist cell phones.  That one change could save their lives in an emergency! There are also so many of us that continually have body discomfort and weight issues. We complain, half heartedly try fads, then comfort ourselves with Netflix binges and sugar. ( I’ve done this, too)

If I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone to change,  I would still be falling over in the morning due to imbalance,  crying because I hurt and unable to wear my wedding ring. 

What in your life needs to change so you may age in comfort? Are you at a loss as to where to start or what to do? Start with something small, like using Stevia in your coffee in lieu of sugar, or adding flair to your look with a new cosmetic or hair color. When we try new looks,  we do not appear dated!

The change that helped me most was being open to new scientific research on whole foods nutrition.  Now that I made that  change, I am staying stuck in those ways! You see, some things we are doing need never change!

Is Age Just a Number?

We’ve all heard the saying ” age is just a number. ” So many of us have thoughts about that, like: ” yeah, tell my aching body that, oh, I wish that was true, ” etc. I think we can agree that common statements like that are bandied about so much, that we dismiss them.

How do you feel now compared to when you were younger? As I was a sickly child with very little physical capabilites,  I feel better decades later!

Why do I feel better as I age, while many people feel worse? It’s not due to surgery or prescriptions.  I did not see a faith healer, either. There are many others my age or older doing remarkably well, also! We have a secret!

Our secret can be summed up with one concept: being proactive! We don’t wait until we feel bad to take action; we consistently strive to feel better.  It could be a combination of diet, exercise, mindset,  environment,  spirituality, medical care,  hobbies or supplements.

Yes, I know we’ve all heard this before! (blah, blah blah!) Well then, you must feel better, right? Awesome! If not, you can take steps to correct that. Now, I do realize there are conditions like cancer that seem hopeless.  What I’m referring to is general health.  You may be doing everything you know of to feel younger, to no avail.  Is age just a number? My opinion is “no,” and that is perfectly okay by me! Stay tuned for future blogs on additional ideas to look and feel your best.