RBG and Mr Rogers

During the first week of August my kids went to what we call "Camp Honey and Papa." It's a week of fun and quality time for my kids and my parents (aka Honey and Papa) who live far away. And for us ... it's a week off. 

This year, Sergio and I were very strategic in how we spent our time while the girls were gone. We planned ahead, charted our course, scheduled our time and - managed to see 4 movies in 3 days! Even pulled a double feature for the first time in I don't know how long. 

Our first two movies were Won't You Be My Neighbor, the documentary about Fred Rogers. and RBG, the documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I loved and enjoyed them both so much and I hope everyone makes time to see them.

Having watched them back to back, I was struck by their similarities. Mr Rogers is so endlessly gentle, kind and soft; however he's also described as being willful, determined, and firm. But willful in a quiet way, not in an loud or fast way that we see so often today. I think these days we've all become a bit panicky. So it's refreshing to me to see someone who fights so slowly for what is good and right and whose determination rarely wavers over the course of decades. RBG did the exact same thing. She fought for the rights of the marginalized and moved deliberately through every necessary step on the way to progress even though she didn't win every case. She responds firmly when she disagrees, but "never in anger" as her mother said. Mr Rogers did the same, following each step, believing firmly in his end goal, responding when he disagrees. And he, too, calmly fought his own fight - for the innocence of children and for respect for their intellect. 

From "I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark" (written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley)

From "I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark" (written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley)

Mr Rogers and RBG are both quiet, firm, determined, clearheaded, dignified and kind people who played the long game. And I believe these two have won this long game and that every single one of us is better off because of these two influential figures. 

I think parents are playing the long game too and it's hard when we lose a battle here and there to remember we're fighting a war. The bedtimes and chaotic mornings; the power struggles; the reprimands. Sometimes it does feel like so much fighting.

But you know what, I don't care for these militant metaphors. I think what I'd rather say is that, as parents, our long game is an epic hike with challenges and beautiful vistas along the way. Somedays we fail; somedays we succeed. Either way, the little people we're developing can and will grow under our influence; they are full of potential. This is the beginning of their life and the patterns, beliefs, and relationships we set in place now and the habits we encourage and support - like reading! - are the "bedrock" as Mr Rogers would say - the bedrock that yields some "very good stuff."