As much as I’d like to say that I’m keeping up Mindhunter, Ozark and Black Mirror, the truth of the matter is that I spend much more time hanging out with PAW Patrol, Dinosaur Train and Peppa Pig. It comes with the territory when you’ve got an inquisitive little toddler on your hands and you get tired of reading the same book for the 57th time today. You come to be just as familiar with the characters and content, and then you start to recognize that you can learn a thing or two too. That’s exactly the case with Daniel Tiger.
The spiritual successor to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood wears an iconic sweater too, even if he’s animated. And a talking tiger. Hi there, neighbor. And yes, while the content is clearly being targeted at the younger set, we as adults stand to learn a few important life lessons too. Sometimes the simplest lessons are the hardest to internalize. Won’t you ride along with me?
1. Take a Step Back…
Sometimes I get so frustrated
When I can’t do something myself
(Grrrrr! I can’t do it!)
But when you need someone to help you
Just take a step back and ask for help
We’d all like to think that we are reasonably self-sufficient and that we can take care of ourselves. Society tends to encourage this mentality with “you’ve got this” and “you can do it” kind of messaging. Even though this may sound like a positive thing, it also has a sinister side.
Some of us (myself included) can start to feel inadequate or like we’ve failed if we ask for help. Asking for help, we subconsciously tell ourselves, is a sign of weakness… but that is entirely unfair. You are not alone. We’re all in this together, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. I won’t think any less of you. If anything, I’ll feel valued.
2. When You Feel So Mad…
The house we built got knocked down
And it made us mad
Grrr mad, really mad mad mad mad
When you feel so mad
That you want to roar
Take a deep breath
And count to four
One, two, three, four
I can build an even better house instead
You might not know it based on how I present myself online, but I can have a bit of a temper. It seems to run in the family. My brother has it. My dad had it. And even though I never saw that side of him, apparently my grandpa had it too. Kwan men have big egos, I suppose, and we feel the need to assert ourselves.
But the things that upset us, more often than not, are either fleeting or largely inconsequential over the long run. We let our emotions get the best of us in the heat of the moment. Step back from the situation, take a deep breath, and count to four. Re-frame the circumstances in a more positive light and reconsider the ramifications from a big picture point of view.
3. See What It Is…
See what it is, you might feel better
See what it is, you might feel better
Once you know what’s there
You might find you don’t need to be scared
Life can indeed be scary, even if the actual source of our fears and anxieties change as we get older. As adults, perhaps it’s even easier for us to retreat from these scary situations altogether. Even so, amazing things happen when you step outside your comfort zone and, once you get there, you might find out it’s not nearly as frightening as you made it out to be in your head.
The next time you see a “creepy shadow on the wall” and you get “grrr-ifficly scared,” take a closer look and you might realize it’s just “silly Mr. Lizard” and you really have “nothing to fear” at all.
4. When Something Seems Bad…
I tried to play outside, it rained on my head
I put on my boots and played fish instead
When something seems bad
Turn it around
And find something good
We have the things in our lives that we can control (to a certain extent) like the food we eat and the clothes we wear. We also have the things in our lives that we can’t control, like when a restaurant runs out of your favorite dish. You can’t control that, but you can control how you choose to react to these new circumstances.
You could get mad. You could throw a fit. Or you could see it as an opportunity to try something new that might be even better. Turn it around and find something good. The power of positive thinking goes a long way and lends itself a happier existence.
5. When We Do Something New…
When you cut my hair will it hurt my head?
It won’t hurt at all, just might tickle instead
When we do something new
Let’s talk about what we’ll do
We live in an age where we are afforded near infinite possibilities and we literally have the world at our fingertips. Planning for a trip to Paris? Ask for tips and advice from someone who’s been there. Thinking about starting your own business? Someone probably wrote a book on it. Put your mind at ease, because even if it’s new to you, someone else has probably already done it and they can help you through the process.
Remember how I said you don’t have to do it alone?
Simple Lessons Are Important Too
It’s such a good feeling
A very good feeling
A feeling you know…
That I’ll be back when the day is new
And I’ll have more ideas for you
And you’ll have things you’ll want to talk about
I will too
While adults (hopefully) don’t need to be reminded that when they have to go potty, they should stop and go right away, we can still stand to learn a lot from the young tiger who’s three stripes tall. Friends help each other, yes they do. Everyone is big enough to do something and indeed, everyone’s job is important.