What happened when I showed vintage Mister Rogers to my 21st-century kids

Portrait of Fred RogersThey discovered TikTok. And Fortnite. And a world of YouTube gamers. I assumed they’d forgotten about Mister Rogers.

But then came fall. After a long day of school, my daughter came home with tears in her eyes. She had too much homework, she moaned. And on the school bus a pair of kids had called her a boy because she liked sports.

I hugged her and asked what would make her feel better. A snack? Some fuzzy pajamas? A story?

“No,” she said. “I think I want to visit your friend.”

“My friend?” I asked, confused.

“You know, the one who makes people feel better? The one with the fish? Can we snuggle and watch your friend, Fred?”

I nodded. And I ran to cue up an episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” –Mary Pflum Peterson, Telegram