One of the most difficult aspects about the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut– where a crazed gunman shot 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary last Friday– is explaining the event to children.

By Saturday, various news outlets had already begun offering words of advice.

“Ask your kids what they’ve heard” before offering any additional information, one article suggests.  “Remain calm,” it emphasizes.

But really, after such a horrific tragedy, most adults are in need of reassurance also, and remaining calm does little to put the event in perspective.  It is merely an act in damage control.

That’s likely why this quote from iconic American educator Fred (“Mister”) Rogers has gone viral on social media:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

Mister Rogers Photo, Quote Go Viral After Sandy Hook, Newtown, CT Shooting

(Photo: Jim Judkis via Facebook/170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting)

The quote was posted with the above photo on Facebook, and had over 88,000 “shares” in just a few days.

PBS has some background information on the quote:

The quote was taken from a timely video in which Rogers advises parents on how to help their children during times of tragedy. You can watch that original video and see more photos and videos of Rogers here on the PBS Parents page.

Photographer Jim Judkis captured the photo in 1978 at The Children’s Institute in Pittsburgh, then known as the Memorial Home for Crippled Children.

When told that the photo he had taken of Mister Rogers decades ago had gone viral on the Internet, accompanied by a Rogers quote, photographer Jim Judkis thought it was a perfect match.

“I think it went viral because … it focuses on the positive. It’s a way of leading you out of the bad towards the good,” he concluded.

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