In 1969 Fred Rogers testified before the US Senate about the funding for PBS. In the end, after he gave Senator Pastore an explanation of what he tried to do for children on his show, Pastore said he had “goosebumps.”
Instead of reading the “philosophical statement” he prepared, Rogers (video below) offered the words of a song about how children can handle their anger. Rogers says if we can “make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health.” With the country so divided after a difficult election, Rogers’ words have special resonance just now and are being shared widely. He caps his testimony by reciting the words of the song below, after which Pastore tells Rogers he just “earned the $20 million” in funding PBS was seeking. It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
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 the 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 the thing that’s wrong
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:
I can stop when I want to
I can stop when I wish
Can stop stop stop anytime.
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 lady
And a boy can be someday a man.