Podcast Recommendation: Finding Fred

Discovering “Finding Fred”

Like many people my age, I have been a longtime fan of Mister Rogers. I remember mentally boarding the trolley and playing with Daniel and all the other puppets in The Land of Make Believe, as a child. While I don’t necessarily remember specific episodes like others do, I do remember the sheer comfort that blanketed me whenever the show aired. Mister Rogers’ soothing voice felt like a hug through the TV screen and his gentle attitude towards life was unlike anything I had witnessed, growing up. Now, at 23 years old, I came across this particular podcast titled “Finding Fred,” when I was scrolling through podcast recommendations on my app. It remained shelved on my To Listen To list for months upon months until I began to play it and was transported back to Mister Rogers’ house and his Land of Make Believe.

Find Fred Takes Us on a Walk Down Memory Lane

Hosted by author and cultural critic, Carvell Wallace, we dive deep into the world of Mister Rogers for 10 episodes to discuss his impact on society, his progressive ways of teaching children, and how Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was one of the most poignant children’s programs at the time. Each episode dissects different aspects of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as well as his personal life. Wallace takes the time to interview adults who grew up watching the show along with those who worked on it behind the scenes to explore its impact in various different ways. He also relates past episodes of the children’s show to current events to ask, “What would Mister Rogers say about this situation?” or “How should we react to this moment by using Mister Rogers’ teachings?”
“Talking to people about empathy and getting people to understand it is so hard. This man was, I believe, a genius at it. ”
– Episode One of “Finding Fred”
This podcast highlights how Mister Rogers handled discussing assassinations, the death of a beloved pet, racism, and the profound concept of teaching children empathy. It not only filled me with nostalgia to hear soundbites of the show and the songs that Mister Rogers sang to teach children how to control their anger or to remind them that they are special, but it also made me realize that this show has a greater impact than I initially thought.

Mister Rogers’ Influence

One of my favorite episodes discussed Mister Rogers’ line, “I like you just the way you are,” which made a friend of Wallace’s cry when she heard that line again, as an adult. Such a simple sentence that can uplift, validate, and comfort another person, and yet I, too, cry whenever I hear Mister Rogers say that because it is the only time I’ve ever heard an adult tell me, “I like you just the way you are.” Mister Rogers lived a simple life and shared his unconditional love with everyone. Not everyone has the strength to love every person just the way they are, but Mister Rogers did and that love still affects us today. Another episode focused solely on one girl who was impacted by Mister Rogers’ kindness in the episode titled “Beth.” I encourage you to listen to that episode because it is my favorite of the entire series, but what I loved most was how it showed that Mister Rogers tried his hardest to connect with as many children as possible to provide them with a little bit of happiness off stage. He was just sincerely a kind man and that gentleness and respect he had towards everyone is unlike anything I’ve seen in media for years. If you grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood or are seeking hope during times when it seems as if there is only ever bad news being shared around the world, I encourage you to listen to “Finding Fred.” It will reignite your love for the show and remind you that there are countless people who have been touched by Mister Rogers and are trying their hardest to emulate all the goodness that shined out of him.

Listen to “Finding Fred” here