I have loved Kermit the Frog since I first saw him on Sesame Street as a child. I followed him through his time on television’s Muppet Show to his career as a movie star. He has always represented my ideal person. I know, I know, he’s a puppet, but to me he demonstrates the characteristics, heart and soul of the best kind of being – whether felt or flesh. I remember participating in a group exercise once in which we had to tell everyone who our hero is and why. I, of course, chose Kermit. Here’s why:
- He is a good friend. “With good friends, you can’t lose.” He is always there to help his friends no matter the wacky, impossible situation they get into. He listens to them with compassion, shows empathy, caring and unconditional love.
- He’s a great leader. He paints the vision and inspires others to join him for the ride – “it’s about singing and dancing and making people happy. The kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with.” He focuses on the strengths others bring to the group and respects their unique talents. He is supportive and a mentor to his team, recognizing that by working together they create something that is bigger than their individual contributions.
- He’s an optimist. He knows the world can be tough, but chooses to see the best of the situation anyway. “If life were easy, it wouldn’t be difficult.” For every challenge that he encounters, he rallies the gang, works through the problem and makes sure that the show goes on. He believes that “Life’s like a movie. Write your own ending.”
- He celebrates diversity. From Animal and Dr. Teeth to Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy to Statler and Waldorf, he embraces all shapes, sizes, colours, ages and species (including whatever Gonzo is) equally and without judgment. They live together, work harmoniously and love each other without reservation. Each creature is special in his or her own right and Kermit makes sure that “no matter what obstacles we face, we NEVER forget one of our own.”
- He never quits. Every show that he puts together runs into trouble of some sort or another, but he just keeps on keeping on. “My mother always told me to never give up on a dream.” The little tadpole from the swamp keeps moving towards his goal and, while he has moments of doubt and despair, he believes in himself and holds onto those hopes and dreams.
- He accepts and embraces his authentic self. He is comfortable in his own skin (or cloth as the case may be). In his song, “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” he recognizes that while green isn’t flashy, it “can be cool and friendly-like” and concludes that “I am green and it’ll do fine.”
I have a little stuffed figure of Kermit that sits on the shelf of my home office. Through my episodes of depression and recovery, he has been there to remind me of the importance of values, purpose and connection in life. He encourages me to strive to live the life that this Frog embodies every day. If I can even approach the standard set by my fine felt friend, I will have served the world well.
“Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection. The lovers, the dreamers and me.”
About Susan Mifsud
Susan Mifsud is a 49 year old mother of two adult sons who has worked in university administration for the last 25 years. She is an active volunteer and advocate in support of the elimination of stigma and shame related to mental illness and addiction. Follow Susan’s story on HMC’s Supportive Minds blog or additionally follow Susan on Twitter.