Mentionable and Manageable

Why are we so divided?

Why can’t we disagree without calling each other names?

Why does anger reach such an intensity that deadly violence erupts?

Could it be that we’ve never really understood our own feelings, and are blind to others’ feelings as well?

The late Fred Rogers addressed a Senate committee hearing in 1969, requesting public funding of PBS stations so that his “Neighborhood” show could continue to be broadcast throughout the nation.  The crusty Sen. John Pastore, committee chairman, at first has little patience for this gentle, unassuming man.   Undaunted, Mr. Rogers “speaks from the heart” about the importance of children, his own respect for them and their feelings.   He recites the lyrics of an insightful song that he wrote about anger and its negative potential (below).

Watch as the camera shows Pastore letting down his guard.  The entire exchange, with its amazing finish, can be seen in this brief Youtube;

May 1, 1969: Fred Rogers testifies before the Senate …

On May 1, 1969, Fred Rogers, host of the (then) recently nationally syndicated children’s television series, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (named Misterogers’ Neighborhood at the time), testified …



Footnote: The following year’s appropriation increased PBS funding from $9 million to $22 million.

As adults, we’re discovering that indeed, feelings are “mentionable and manageable.”  If we don’t talk about them and don’t attempt to manage them, we won’t be the kind of free, happy people that we’re supposed to be.  We’ll end up hurting others with verbal or physical violence.

Here are the words to the song which Fred Rogers incorporated into his testimony;

What Do You Do With the Mad that You Feel?”

What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong…
And nothing you do seems very right?

What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?

It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man

If Mr. Rogers were alive today, we’d travel many miles just to shake his hand.  Wisdom and love shone through him; he was a powerful witness for Jesus Christ.

What he taught Senator John Pastore so many years ago, needs to be ever-so-carefully taught…. today!

May God be praised that this man was once our “neighbor!”

P.S.  If you missed it in the theaters, we urge you to get the DVD, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”  It’s an engaging, worthwhile documentary.