Andy Griffith – Father to a Generation

Lessons in honor, morality, hard work, and integrity can come from many different places. I was fortunate to learn many of these lessons from my parents, and from my church, as well as from teachers in the schools I attended long before the educational system turned completely liberal. My generation also received lessons in life from another source, one that could be counted on every week to deliver an entertaining sermon in the form of a 30 minute folksy television program mixed with Southern wit, wisdom, and charm.

There are few modern examples of the positive influence the Andy Griffith Show had on the children of the 60’s, and for another couple decades in regular reruns. The misleadingly titled Family Guy is possibly the raunchiest program ever broadcast with no known redeeming qualities. Do you really want your children exposed to the values that are promoted on 30 Rock, GCB (they’re not fooling anyone with those initials, and thank goodness the show has been cancelled), The View, Jersey Shore, The Cleveland Show, Bill Maher, etc.? The Cosby Show of the 80’s and early 90’s had a profoundly positive influence on America with it’s married professional one male and one female parent household and strong family themes, but it’s part of a disappearing minority of programs that provide a positive influence, and no show can compare to the morality play that unfolded on every episode of the Andy Griffith Show.

The character Andy was a devoted father, a widow who took in his Aunt when she needed a place to live. As the local Sheriff, Andy worked hard and provided the balance and stability that held the town together. He was law enforcement, but he rarely carried a gun, preferring to solve problems with reason and wit rather than with force. He showed compassion and mercy to the town drunk, he resolved disputes between neighbors, he valued friendship and integrity, he went to church with his family, and he set an example that each of us could follow.

My favorite episode showcased a harried businessman, Mr. Tucker, who ends up stranded in Mayberry (the home town featured in the Andy Griffith Show) for the weekend when his car breaks down. Mr. Tucker’s impatience to leave on a business trip nearly drives everyone in town crazy, and I’ll spare you the details, but in one of the final scenes he’s standing on the porch signing “Come to the church in the Wildwood” in harmony with Andy and Barney. Thirty minutes in Mayberry didn’t just change Mr. Tucker, it changed all of us.

The Andy Griffith Show existed in a time before the Internet, before texting, blogs, Facebook, HDTV, personal computers, microwave ovens, and cell phones. With only 3 or 4 television channels to choose from, Andy had our undivided attention. The actor Andy Griffith, who recently passed away, owned 50% of the Andy Griffith Show and was empowered to wield a strong influence over the content and direction of the program. His guidance and oversight of the show and its characters created a perfect storm of entertainment and fatherly guidance that helped raise a generation of Americans and teach them what it means to be a man, a father, a Christian, and a hard working citizen of our great country. Catch the show in reruns sometime, the lessons it teaches are just as valuable today as they were a generation ago. Rest in Peace Any Griffith, you are sorely missed.

Author and professional conservative businessman Alan Barrington is featured on http://www.EmperorsClothes.net, the web site that provides links to featured Conservative Thought Leadership.