Thursday, June 21, 2018

"The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self." Mr. Rogers

A movie about Mr. Rogers is playing in selected theaters.  I am eager to see the movie, because I actually knew Mr. Rogers. In the 1980's, Scott and I had tickets for the Pittsburgh Public Theater on the same night as Mr. and Mrs. Rogers.  We would exchange hellos and pleasantries, and it seemed to us that the man was so real.  His TV persona of kindness was unwavering when he was seen in person.  Once in the lobby before a show, we observed a young girl run up to Mr. Rogers. "Look at my new dress, Mr. rogers!" she exclaimed.  He gave her a smile and a nod, and remarked, "Your dress is very pretty.  But, remember, it is more important to be pretty on the inside."  Scott and I just looked at each other - it was a real "Mr. Rogers" learning moment. He was the same on the public street as he was on television.

I think the world was a kinder and gentler place when Mr. Rogers was on television, helping kids deal with tough issues like divorce, serious illness, death, and even assassination.  Just the sound of his voice enveloped his audience in a field of comfort and safety.  I wish his gentle demeanor and methods of discussion and explanation were here today. The children who are dealing with school safety issues as well as gender identification problems and bullying would benefit from this gentle man's point of view.  Mr. Rogers'  ideas and words could help to steer children through this difficult world.

I also admired Mr. Rogers because he always wanted children to be the best versions of themselves, while staying true to themselves.  He liked us "just the way we are."  As adults and teachers, we need to reiterate his positive messages to the children we influence, especially his messages about being kind. One thing I know for sure is that our world needs more kindness.  

Have you seen the trailer for the new film about Mr. Rogers?  Here is the link. 

I am so proud that Mr. Rogers was from Latrobe, which is outside of my hometown of Pittsburgh.  He made Pittsburgh and the rest of America a better place with his empathy and sincerity, embracing each new person he met as his "neighbor"  and friend.  I hope this new film will help his message to reach new "neighbors", inspiring us to be better human beings. Thanks for being you, Mr. Rogers.  And thanks for expecting us to be the best authentic selves we could be, while always treating others with kindness and compassion. 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom.  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit  

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

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