The Andy Griffith show is on Netflix. This is exciting! Maybe it’s been there all along and I just realized it.Though I didn’t watch it as a child (I grew up on Family Matters, Full house, Step by Step, and Home Improvement), I did watch it later on once my parents were given the first two volumes on DVD. It was cute and funny, and, like many shows back then, had a nice moral lesson tied in. And, come on, who doesn’t love Opie? So as my daughter sat there watching this show for the first time the other night, she fell in love with it. And as I sat there watching it with her, something hit me.
Andy Griffith was the man.
Andy represents something that has been lost in our culture of the fast paced, look out for number one, get ahead at any cost mentality. Don’t get me wrong, forward movement is necessary, freezing time is impossible (who’d want to anyway?), small towns aren’t meant for everybody, and hard work is goooood. This isn’t about going back to Mayberry. BUT! Andy is a study in patience, kindness, selflessness, and knowing which shelf his priorities belong on; and I don’t care who you are or where you live, there is no way that learning to imitate those characteristics would be a detriment to you.
As parents today, we’re impatient and unwilling to deal with our children. Instead of getting down on their level to talk with them and attempt to understand where their head and hearts are when they are getting into trouble, we yell, send them away, or stick electronics in front of them so they will just. shut. up. I realize this is not true for every single parent and individual, but with the explosion of technology in just the last decade even, I have observed this more often. So I make my generalized statement. Accept or deny that you are among the generalized peoples here, and for peter’s sake, don’t get offended (because if you do I’ll just assume you’re one of them, and I’ll judge you!). Kidding. I say all this, admitting guilt. It is so easy to put a show on, a video game, or hand them an iPad. That’s the world we live in. Even so, I don’t believe Andy Griffith would have exchanged the task of loving discipline and guidance for peace and quiet, by offering technology to Opie instead.
As ambitious individuals striving to “make our mark” on the world, our goals have become completely selfish. Sure we know how to be team-workers, but that is too often for the sole purpose of playing the game right in order to get ahead. Co-workers are frienemies who work by the motto “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”Building relationships with co-workers is necessary for the times when knowing people in the right places comes in handy. How much do we actually care about our peers and co-workers? The idea of inviting them and their families into our homes for dinner and conversation, for the sake of getting to know them, is foreign.
As people who have rights to free speech and opinion, we have used that as a right to be downright nasty. Name calling and defaming others is not specific to children in need of training, but it is the way we display ourselves, as adults, to the constantly watching world. Is this really what we want to pass down to the next generation? Seriously? We could use a lesson in human decency by observing the way Andy interacts with individuals. Take Barney Fife, for example. Barney wasn’t the most fragrant flower in the garden, he was kind of bad at being a deputy, and he was quite ridiculous (in a completely awesome kind of way!). Even considering all that, Andy was kind and respectful in his dealings with Barney, those characteristics an underlying thread throughout all of their interactions. Even in pointing out the error to Barney’s ways, Andy was gentle (even when he was laughing at Barney, it was not unkind).
Look, I’m not against technology, ambition, or taking a break from my kid when necessary (trust me I know we gotta step away sometimes), all I’m saying is that we could all take a page out of the Andy Griffith handbook. And if you haven’t checked it out on Netflix, you should! Your whole family can watch it.
Rascal Flatts got it right in their song, Mayberry. I’ve provided it for you below! You’re welcome! Have a great weekend.