I am better for having met and spent time with Hedda Sharapan, Child Development Consultant for the Fred Rogers Company. Hedda and Mr. Rogers were longtime neighbors. She invited us to wonder about how we have made a difference in this life…specifically in the lives of children.

Change often begins with the first questions I ask myself…and I have learned to appreciate questions that begin with the word “what”…they often have a kinder curiosity to them. The question that came to mind was “What is it that makes a difference?”

My own experiences have taught me one of the answers is the tool of current or up-to-date knowledge and understanding of child development…Hedda reminded me about the importance of relationship, relationship, relationship…I believe this has to do with the knowledge and understanding of the child that you are holding in your mind at this very moment or the one standing in front of you. Hedda reminded me about listening to understand rather than listening to be understood or have an answer.

Hedda shared a story from her own life when her granddaughter said to her “I never asked anyone this question but I want to know…” This resonated with me; I want to be the kind of person that a child can trust with their questions.


Bob Welker is an Early Childhood Social and Emotional Coach for Children, Inc. He earned his M.A.Ed. in ECE and taught preschool and kindergarten for 17 years. Most often he spends his time observing and consulting about the internal lives of children and what helps them and their teachers feel good at school.