On May 16, 1990, Jim Henson died at the age of 53. I remember hearing the news in Mrs. Neighbor’s eighth grade social studies class, and being overwhelmed with sadness. While I may not have fully appreciated Henson’s creative genius in the way I do now as an adult, I knew that he and the characters he created were beloved by myself and millions of others.
Henson’s work and his characters live on, and so do his words of wisdom and insight. Today feels like an appropriate day to share some of my favorite Jim Henson quotes about parenting and life.
I know I’m often all about the teachable moment, but this quote is such an important reminder that what we do matters far more than what we say:
“The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.” – Jim Henson
This quote is from Henson’s letter to his children, which was published after his death:
“Life is meant to be fun, and joyous, and fulfilling. May each of yours be that — having each of you as a child of mine has certainly been one of the good things in my life. Know that I’ve always loved each of you with an eternal, bottomless love. A love that has nothing to do with each other, for I feel my love for each of you is total and all-encompassing. Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody.”
More thoughts on forgiveness:
“Love everyone and forgive everyone, including yourself. Forgive your anger. Forgive your guilt. Your shame. Your sadness. Embrace and open up your love, your joy, your truth, and most especially your heart.”
And this is from a letter to his friends:
“Have a wonderful time in life, everybody.”
On optimism, something that seems in short supply of late:
“If our ‘message’ is anything, it’s a positive approach to life. That life is basically good. People are basically good.”
This one bring me comfort when I think of our kids growing so fast. Inside, they are still children, and may that always be the case:
“The most sophisticated people I know – inside they are all children.”
This reminds me that time together as a family with no set plans can be a very good thing:
“No time is wasted time”
It’s easy to forget that we are the authors and directors of our lives, but this is a good reminder (It is unclear whether this was part of the song “The Rainbow Connection” by Paul Williams & Kenny Ascher, or by Henson, but he performed the words as Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie):
“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.”
A reminder to lighten up:
“Here’s some simple advice: Always be yourself. Never take yourself to seriously. And beware of advice from experts, pigs, and members of Parliament.”
On the impact he hoped to have:
“When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there.”
Prior Post: Knowing when to say yes to that app
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