Thursday, March 20, 2014

5 Keys - How to Live in Mayberry Today (4/5)

Do you ever watch The Andy Griffith Show and wish you could somehow escape to Mayberry? Do you long for simpler times filled with lots of laughter and loving relationships? Well, over the past few days, I've been talking about some of the basic principles taught on the show, and I believe these ideals have the potential to change the world if you let them! If we all could learn to Live with Grace, to Value Other People, and to Seek Peace with Others, wouldn't that be a huge step in the right direction?

If you said yes to this, then you're ready for the fourth key to living in Mayberry...

4. Lead by Example

If you want to live in a world where people treat each other with love and respect, you make that happen by first learning to treat others the way you want to be treated and then trusting others and teaching them how to follow your lead. Whether you sense it or not, people notice the way you live. They notice how you act, the things you say, and they see the outcome of your lifestyle. You can influence the community around you just by setting a good example – and perhaps the most important influence you can have is on the children in your life. This is especially true for parents, but everyone should remember that children who see you can soak things up like a sponge!

Perhaps the clearest example of this is in “The Case of the Punch in the Nose”. In this episode, Barney finds a record of an assault case 19 years ago that was never officially closed. The case involved Charlie Foley, the grocer, and Floyd Lawson, the barber. Since both men still live in town, Barney decides to dig into the facts in an attempt to officially close the case. He is seeking legal closure, when he should be seeking peace! As a result, Floyd and Mr. Foley get fired up over something that should’ve been left alone, and they begin arguing and fighting again. Then others get involved, taking sides, and the next thing you know, the whole town is divided into two camps. The fighting is not limited to the adults, either: soon Opie is sent home from school for fighting with his best friend, and it turns out they were fighting over the same issue! The children have followed the poor example set by the adults!

That’s why it’s so important to set the right example and teach our children to live right. Several episodes show Andy trying to teach Opie the difference between right and wrong – talking to him about responsibility, correcting him when he does wrong, etc. Sometimes that means Opie gets grounded. Sometimes he loses his allowance. Sometimes he gets spanked. The purpose is not to abuse Opie or leave him with a physical or emotional scar, but to teach him that actions have consequences and to encourage him to do the right thing. Correction should come from a place of loving concern, and the punishment should fit both the crime and the child. Part of Andy’s parenting style also involves open communication – clearly explaining what the rules are and what is expected, and being willing to listen thoughtfully to what his son has to say instead of responding rashly. Andy treats Opie with just as much love and respect as anybody else, if not more! I really think the main reason why Andy and Opie have such a great relationship is because Opie can see Andy’s love behind everything he does, and Opie can see in Andy’s life a model of how he wants to be when he grows up!

Set a good example for others to emulate
Andy wasn’t perfect – he admitted sometimes to making mistakes, and sometimes Opie even had to call him on it once or twice. What’s important is not that you’re perfect, but that you genuinely try to do the right thing. What’s important is that you’re willing to let others point out your shortcomings so you can work on ways to improve. It’s important to try to live right and then to point out what’s right to others in a loving way – to speak the truth in love. Lead others with a good example, both in your actions and in your words!

In “The Case of the Punch in the Nose”, Andy finally has to step in to help everyone learn to get along again. Andy is seeking peace for the good of the community. He does this by reminding Floyd and Foley of the value of each other’s friendship and encouraging them to show each other grace. Some of the messes in our lives will be harder to fix than this, but you’d be surprised how many situations could be resolved if we all just learned to follow Andy’s example! (Notice how the four keys we've covered work together?)

What are others learning from watching you?

So a conflict arises in your workplace or at home, and you want to handle things the Mayberry way, but you're just not sure where to start. What do you do? You have these first four keys now, so you can start by considering how they apply. But sometimes the right answer isn't easy to find, is it?

If thinking about these first four keys hasn't already led you to the answer, maybe that's because you need the fifth key to living in Mayberry...

CLICK HERE to see what it is!

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Please comment on this post. Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Is there something I left out or should have covered? Was something confusing? I want to know what you think!