A Soft Answer Turns Away Wrath

A soft answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
    but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
    keeping watch on the evil and the good.
A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
    but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
A fool despises his father’s instruction,
    but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.
In the house of the righteous there is much treasure,
    but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
    not so the hearts of fools. 
Proverbs 15:1-7

Growing up my memories of “Mr Rogers Neighborhood” was a guy that talked a bit funny, always wore a cardigan, and was more someone to scoff at than respect. Being a young person I had no concept of the genius behind that soft-spoken exterior nor the deep and meaningful work he was doing for young children finding their way in the world.

Such was Mr. Rogers genius that in the span of less than six minutes of soft-spoken testimony he convinced an entire Senate committee to shelve their plan to cut PBS’s budget by fifty percent and turned an adversary into an advocate.

This is an example we can all learn from.

From the Facebook page “Happiness Heroes“:

In 1969, Mr. Rogers gave the following emotional plea to a Senate Subcommittee. Nixon was trying to cut funding for PBS. Mr. Rogers was trying to save it. This speech is one of many fantastic memories that remind us just how fantastic a happiness hero this man really was.

Somehow using nothing but a few minutes of gentle words, Mr. Rogers was able to convince them not to pull funding from public television. The transition of the committee’s chairman from skeptical and dismissive at the beginning to having an attitude of outright admiration at the end is beautiful to behold. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when kindness and the happiness of others is your goal.

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