From an excerpt from last year’s The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers,
the rules of “Freddish” – as Mr Rogers’ crewmembers jokingly referred
to the rigorous rules that Rogers used to revise his scripts to make
them appropriate and useful for the preschoolers in his audience.

Rogers’ nine rules are a masterclass in figuring out how to clarify a
thought, then refine that clarity to remove extraneous elements, then
consider the result and use empathy for your audience to be a better
communicator and a better person.

It’s how Rogers went from “It is dangerous to play in the street” to
“Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is
important to try to listen to them, and listening is an important part
of growing.” From a proscriptive, negative statement to a positive
statement that admits that there will be uncertainty in the world, that
reinforces loving relationships, without making value judgments, and
connecting the idea to a toddler-friendly message about personal growth.

Per the pamphlet, there were nine steps for translating into Freddish:

  1. “State the idea you wish to express as clearly as possible, and in terms preschoolers can understand.” Example: It is dangerous to play in the street. ??????
  2. “Rephrase in a positive manner,” as in It is good to play where it is safe.
  3. “Rephrase the idea, bearing in mind that preschoolers cannot yet
    make subtle distinctions and need to be redirected to authorities they
    trust.” As in, “Ask your parents where it is safe to play.”
  4. “Rephrase your idea to eliminate all elements that could be
    considered prescriptive, directive, or instructive.” In the example,
    that’d mean getting rid of “ask”: Your parents will tell you where it is safe to play.
  5. “Rephrase any element that suggests certainty.” That’d be “will”: Your parents can tell you where it is safe to play.
  6. “Rephrase your idea to eliminate any element that may not apply to all children.” Not all children know their parents, so: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play.
  7. “Add a simple motivational idea that gives preschoolers a reason to follow your advice.” Perhaps: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is good to listen to them.
  8. “Rephrase your new statement, repeating the first step.” “Good” represents a value judgment, so: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is important to try to listen to them.
  9. “Rephrase your idea a ?nal time, relating it to some phase of development a preschooler can understand.” Maybe: Your
    favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is
    important to try to listen to them, and listening is an important part
    of growing.




not to be bitter or anything but like. why do parents always try to make you feel like you should be grateful to have a roof over your head and food on your plate. 


7 year old me: asks for a toy or somethin

mom: i already give you a place to sleep and food to eat, you should be grateful for what you have

7 yr old me: oh okay….

me now, 17 and jaded: those are the simple necessities needed for a child to live comfortably, healthily, and happily and you providing those things is not optional. you willingly decided to have children and willingly accepted the responsibilities that come with the job. you telling a child to be grateful for the fact that you do the Bare Minimum by allow them to Live Decently is by nature manipulative and you should feel bad

im not really even mad at my mother, because when i actually Said all this to her, she didn’t look angry just. surprised. like it had never even occurred to her. and it was so obvious in that moment that she’d been told those same things as a child herself.

it just goes to show how toxic parenting like that needs to be noticed and discussed and then discarded so it doesn’t keep spreading. shit like that is why i never asked for anything as a little kid and its why i still feel bad about buying/asking for things just because i want them. shit like that is why i struggle to ask for help when I get stressed out and im only just now unlearning that behavior.

its so so important to be aware of what and how you say things to kids because it really can ruin them in the long run







If you would report an undocumented immigrant to ICE you would have reported me to the Nazis and I don’t fucking trust you

A note:

I live in a state where you “have to” report anyone you suspect of being undocumented (that wonderful hellhole of Arizona). Now in practice this law has fallen far short, thank goodness. But if you live in such a place and they start enforcing it, here is how you get around it:

Assume everyone who doesn’t speak English is visiting.

Never ask about their job, because if they tell you they work here then you know they’re not visiting. You see them a lot for several weeks or months? Hm. Someone in the family must be ill. That’s terribly tough. They always dress in old, ratty laborers’ clothes? I feel you, my dude, I can’t afford new clothes either, and my dad has the fashion sense of an aardvark, so sometimes it’s not even about “affording” them. They say they’ve been here for years? You must have misunderstood. Spanish isn’t your first language, after all. First and last name? It never came up, or you don’t recall–you meet a lot of people.

And then, if you’re asked: no, you haven’t seen anyone residing illegally in the United States. Just people visiting.

Very good very important addition

Essentially, this is the civil society version of a work-to-rule strike.

Don’t do more than is expressly asked of you, and do what you are asked with such an intense attention to protocol that not asking you at all becomes more effective than even bothering.

In this case:

“Have you seen an illegal immigrant?”

“Could you describe an illegal immigrant, officer?”

*officer describes a person who is in the country without appropriate paperwork, or who has crossed the border illegally*

“No, sir, I haven’t seen any illegal immigrant.”

And this is correct. You have NOT seen an illegal immigrant, because you have no way of knowing if Jose Fulano is here legally or not. And since you can’t see his paperwork (or lack thereof), and did not personally see him cross the border illegally, you are only answering precisely the question asked.

I’m not American, and I have like, three followers, but this is important.

So, I’m a lawyer, who deals with immigration though does not specialize in it. But here’s the thing(s): 

1) Even someone who’s working could be here on a migrant (or other sort of) visa (hey, there are a few thousand per year, and *someone*’s got to get them, right?) or could be waiting for their case to resolve in immigration court, after having come to America to join a born or naturalized American family member. 

2) Even people who are working improperly could have come into the country legally – and just overstayed their visa or be violating the conditions of their visa, and you have no idea what the niggly little regulations that govern that might be. 

3) If a law enforcement officer asks you about a neighbor/friend/etc., take this moment to remind them that, unlike them, you cannot ask a random person off the street for their ID and be entitled to a response. 

4) Even if someone has told you that they are undocumented, you still don’t know, do you? Humans lie all the time. How could you know for sure? You can’t, because they can’t prove that they have a lack of papers. Just because you haven’t seen papers doesn’t mean they don’t exist! 

5) Don’t ever talk to cops in general. Why are you talking to a cop? Stop that, as soon as it is safe and feasible. 


a very tired public defender