“It’s You I Like” by Fred M. Rogers

I was probably familiar with this song when I was a kid, but I recently […]

Matt S / 5.1.12

I was probably familiar with this song when I was a kid, but I recently ran across it again… for the first time. Its words of gratuitous unconditional love may seem a bit flaky at first, but if Mr. Rogers can’t pierce our cynicism, no one can! The lyrics are on par with that scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary when Mark Darcy tells Bridget Jones, “I like you very much. Just as you are.” (As opposed to who you think should be.) Love that is not interested in attributes or works, but the people themselves, warts and all — we may not be terribly successful in loving one another this way (“all have fallen short of the glory of God”), but what good and miraculous news it is that God loves us in this way — not because of who we are, but because of who He is. A beautiful day in the neighborhood indeed! Here it is, “It’s You I Like,” by Fred M. Rogers:

It’s you I like,
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair—
But it’s you I like
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you—
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys—
They’re just beside you.

But it’s you I like—
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
Even when you’re feeling blue
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself,
It’s you, it’s you I like.


As an added bonus, if you’ve never seen the footage of Mr. Rogers testifying before the Senate, it has to be seen to be believed! He cuts through the formalities and speaks to the heart in what can only be called a Christlike fashion:


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13 responses to ““It’s You I Like” by Fred M. Rogers”

  1. Mr. Rogers was nice. I’m not so sure how far Mr. Rogers’ niceness can be analogized to the dead and resurrected Jesus, if he is anything like the one depicted in Revelation 3, however.

  2. Phil Wold says:

    A friend of mine met Mr. Rogers in a work setting. He was so very impressed with this man.
    Niceness analogous to the dead and resurrected Jesus?
    But niceness fitting for a disciple of the dead and resurrected Jesus, who was called by the Holy Spirit to teach and entertain children perhaps.
    Can this niceness be analogized to discipleship? Can it be connected to an un-ironic vision of human being, warts and all?

    • Excellent point, Phil. My understanding of the post, however, was that the analogy that was sought to be drawn was between Mr. Rogers and God, not presenting Mr. Rogers as a model for Christian discipleship. I am sure Mr. Rogers was called to be Mr. Rogers, in all his “un-ironic” niceness. But I would not posit the “un-ironic” as a universal model for Christian discipleship, recalling St. Paul’s highly ironic suggestion to the Galatians that they consider emasculating themselves if they want to go whole hog for the law answer to life. I would pay good money, though, to have a clip of Mr. Rogers letting his niceness guard down and saying something half that ironic 😉

      • Phil Wold says:

        I hope you don’t think I was criticizing your post – just thought my comment might ‘visit with’ yours. . .
        re: the Rev. Rogers saying something so ironic: It’s interesting to wonder if he had it in him, isn’t it?
        And if he did, perhaps it might be quite playfully self-deprecating. . .

  3. I really do think you make a great point, Phil, about Mr. Rogers’ “call.” I think even the smart asses of the world like me love Mr. Rogers because we see a man doing exactly what God had for him to do.

    • Phil Wold says:

      I wonder, too, Michael, as a fellow smart ass of the world, if I don’t love Mr. Rogers for being so willing to come off as so very simple. Surely a part of his call as well, to adopt an innocence fitting for the relationship he sought to have with his audience. That un-ironic nice-ness was the necessary mode in bringing a message of affirmation to a world which lacks this most everywhere else. Especially in the realm of television and entertainment.
      And, in that way, might one suggest that the character of Mr. Rogers might be, in some small ways, a reflection of God’s affirmation of each child as a creation of God.
      Yes – we are not called to an un-ironic discipleship – but I sometimes wonder if irony so easily falls into cynicism when it is visited upon those who are either too young for it, or too simple in their ready assumption of superiority over everyone else.
      Just wondering. . .

  4. Kyle says:

    The Rodger’s Senate video was absolute gold. Yet, his last song about control being important for children to hear struck me. We too need to hear that it is not us who are in control, but God in Christ. Rodger’s understands our need for control, and how comforting it is to hear that someone really is, and for your benefit.

  5. Phil, the distinction between irony and cynicism that you make is an important and complicated one. I do see how the adoption of a studied, intentional naivete can be seen as a necessary antidote to a prevailing cynicism, but I also think that the highly ironic can also be deeply “affirming” in a profoundly Christ-like way. The Colbert Report is an example of this, I believe. The Colbert utube clip on the Alabama immigration law is a fantastic use of irony in a very un-cynical and very Christian way. I think in the end, God uses both the Mr. Rogers and the Colberts of the world do his deconstructive and constructive “affirming” work.

  6. Marla says:


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