Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Episode 217


It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…

We’re all really big fans of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood at my house, and all for different reasons. My husband’s love for the show probably sprouted first of the three of us because DTN was one of the only shows that would grab Kennedy’s attention long enough for us to keep her occupied while we showered or took phone calls. Kennedy loves it because of the relatable characters and musical element weaved into every episode. Me, of course, I love it because A) it’s an extension of a childhood favorite of mine, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and B) in addition to teaching kids about the basics like using the potty, washing hands, and trying new foods, it maintains (true to Fred Rogers’ legacy) a climate of acceptance, empathy, and love among children across the sexes, abilities, and ethnic lines. The families on DTN are also made up of diverse combinations: King Friday and Queen Saturday are the oldest parents of the bunch, but alas, young Prince Wednesday is the same age as the other children, Katerina Kittycat is raised by her mother alone, and Uncle X looks after O the Owl on his own.

One episode in particular stood out to me recently because I hadn’t seen it before.

[Side note: We’re back to “we can afford to splurge on cable” status at our house, so there are a lot of shows I’m catching reruns of that didn’t hit Netflix]

All of the episodes of DTN contain some lesson for child audiences to learn, and episode 217 doesn’t fall short in content or title, “Daniel Thinks of Others.” In this episode, Daniel colors a picture of his family at school and decides to add some glitter to it. He ends up using all of the glitter on his picture, which later disappoints Ms. Elaina (my favorite of the bunch) who wants to use some glitter for a sign she is making. Teacher Harriett speaks to Daniel about how it’s a good idea to think about what other people may need rather than only considering oneself. Daniel resolves to be a little more thoughtful of his friends and family in the future.

It’s a warm and fuzzy lesson for him to learn, but it also left me with questions:

At what point in our lives do we decide stop following the lessons taught to us in childhood? Couldn’t our world benefit immensely from all of us upholding the lessons we’re teaching our kids? Why are we insisting our children receive quality programming that teaches them positive messages when as adults we aren’t doing the same?

I’ve started to break my social network silence a bit about recent events of police brutality, racial divide in the United States, acts of terrorism abroad, and mass shootings on American soil. I don’t really care which side of the issue you come down on, whether you’re #BlueLivesMatter, #BlackLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatter, Confederate, Union, whatever…

None of the problems plaguing us right now can be solved if fear and its byproducts rule our actions. Love has to replace fear, and from love can come understanding. This is not a police problem or a black problem – it is a human problem.

I’ve been practicing guided meditation lately as a means for quieting my mind before bed, and one meditation I came across is by Ram Dass, titled, “Just Like Me.” It’s a reflective exercise that requires the participant to practice empathy, even with people they don’t necessarily care for.

Just Like Me

This person has a body and a mind, just like me.

This person has feelings, emotions and thoughts, just like me.

This person has in his or her life, experienced physical and emotional pain and suffering, just like me.

This person has at some point been sad, disappointed, angry, or hurt, just like me. This person has felt unworthy or inadequate, just like me.

This person worries and is frightened sometimes, just like me.

This person has longed for friendship, just like me.

This person is learning about life, just like me.

This person wants to be caring and kind to others, just like me.

This person wants to be content with what life has given, just like me.

This person wishes to be free from pain and suffering, just like me.

This person wishes to be safe and healthy, just like me.

This person wishes to be happy, just like me.

This person wishes to be loved, just like me.

I wish that this person have the strength, resources, and social support to navigate the difficulties in life with ease.

I wish that this person be free from pain and suffering.

I wish that this person be peaceful and happy.

I wish that this person be loved.

Because this person is a fellow human being, just like me.


I wonder how many other people know about this meditation and have used it before. I wonder if it’d be used more if I placed it on cars or wrote it onto a mural or dropped off copies of it at the police station.

Imagination is wild. My daughter is calling me in the next room.

Be well!

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