If you were a child anytime between 1968 and 2001, chances are that you spent time after school in Mr. Rogers neighborhood. As children, his kindness and thoughtfulness made all of us feel special and cared for.
As we grew older, his stories and shows became mundane to us and we became too cool to stop and listen to his gentle wisdom.
His brilliant methods of teaching and entertaining, however emphasized empathy and storytelling. Simply put, he had the capacity to understand and feel what another person was experiencing from from within their frame of reference. Empathy is an ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling And place oneself in another’s position.
At the commencement for Marquette University in May 2001, Fred Rogers was given an honorary degree: Doctor of Letters. In his speech, he said “I’d like to give you all an invisible gift; a gift of silence to think about those who nourish you at the deepest part of your being – anyone who has ever loved you and wanted what was best for you in life. Some of those people may be here today. Some may be far away. Some may even be in heaven; but if they’ve ever encouraged you to come closer to what you know to be a essential about life, I’d like you to have a silent minute to think of them. “
Empathy at its core, is taking a silent minute to think of another. Empathy in healthcare has become more essential than ever. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing has brought isolation and physical and mental health problems. to better serve our patients, we as healthcare givers need to acknowledge the emotional state of our patients.
The medical profession is beginning to circle back around to the timeless wisdom that Mr. Rogers taught us as children. Be kind. Let others know that they are special just as they are. Maintain your natural curiosity about your patience lives.
Take a minute.