So far, I've covered four of the five keys I think would make it possible for anyone to live in Mayberry:
- Live with Grace - This includes things like tolerance, forgiveness, trust, helping each other, and just generally treating people with the same kind of respect you expect from them.
- Value Other People - This means putting the needs and feelings of others ahead of your own and learning to be humble. If you can do this one, it will be a big help in doing the first one!
- Seek Peace with Others - This goes hand-in-hand with the first two and emphasizes the importance of love, patience, and the ability to let things go. It means accepting people who are different from you, and it means looking for non-violent ways to resolve conflicts as often as possible.
- Lead by Example - It's important to remember that others see you and can be influenced by your lifestyle. It's important to model the Mayberry mindset consistently if you want others to see its value and start living it for themselves.
5. Slow Down
Getting enough rest is a value that seems to be under-appreciated in today’s society. From cars to computers and cell phones, technology seems great because we imagine all the ways it can make our work easier so we can have more leisure time. But the reality is that now we live in a world where it everybody’s moving in hyper-speed – go, go, go all the time!
In Mayberry, everything seems to move at an easier pace. People stay active, yes, but they’re never too busy to sit on the porch in the evening or to go out on a date to the duck pond. (“Barney, why do you want to go to the duck pond at night? You won’t be able to see the ducks!”) Folks in Mayberry know the value of a hard day’s work, but they also know the importance of leaving work at work, taking time to enjoy the company of friends and family, and enjoying the simple things in life. One or two episodes even show Andy and Opie slipping off to get some fishing in during the early hours before Andy has to go to work! And of course, every episode begins with Andy and Opie walking to Meyers Lake while Earl Hagen whistles the all-too familiar theme song about going down to the fishin’ hole.
The Andy Griffith Show doesn’t teach us to be lazy, but it points out what doctors are starting to realize today – that it’s actually good for you to take a break now and then and just enjoy life! It’s good to take a nap once in a while or put your feet up from time to time! It’s good because it gives you a chance to get rid of some of the stress in your life so that when you get back to work, you can feel recharged and you can tackle problems with a fresh mind. When you're not sure how to work out a conflict with someone, sometimes the best thing you can do is to take a break from the situation so you can come back to it with fresh eyes and ears and an open mind.
When Malcolm Tucker’s car broke down outside town in the “Man in a Hurry” episode, he was frustrated because, in Mayberry, just about everything is closed on Sundays. It was hard for him to accept the slower pace because he was so used to the world of instant gratification, but in the end, even he learned to appreciate the opportunity to sit on the porch and just hum a familiar tune and peel an apple. (Notice, he learned from watching the example of Andy and others!) I like to think that when Mr. Tucker finally did make his way to Charlotte, maybe he remembered what Mayberry was like from time to time, and maybe he continued to find the value in slowing down and just resting.
|Mr. Tucker begins to relax as Andy and Barney sing|
"Come to the Church in the Wildwood..."
Putting It All Together
The whole “closed on Sundays” thing was a lot more common in the 1960s than it is today, but the truth is that, for thousands of years, people have generally made a point of resting one day a week – it’s only really been in the last couple decades that this value has become more and more lost. The idea of a day of rest began because people wanted to honor the Ten Commandments found in the Bible, where God instructed his people to honor the Sabbath. (The word “Sabbath” literally means to cease working.) The point of slowing down, then, for many people including the citizens of Mayberry, is often not just to clear the mind, but also to reconnect with God and seek spiritual rejuvenation.
You might say that Mr. Tucker learned to relax because he saw people living up to what the Bible teaches. He was influenced by the example of Andy and Barney, as they sat on the porch and let their stresses go for a day. He was moved by the kindness of Gomer and Goober, who were willing to give up their day of rest to help a stranger in need. He was touched by the generosity of Aunt Bee, who wanted to make sure he had plenty of food for his trip. He was blessed by Opie’s gesture of friendship when he gave Mr. Tucker a mashed penny “to protect you in your travels.” Because the citizens of Mayberry lived out the Bible’s teachings about hospitality and generosity and, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” they were able to break through Mr. Tucker’s tough exterior and help him to have a change of heart!
Live with Grace Value Other People Seek Peace with Others
Lead by Example Slow Down
Maybe for you, you choose to live by this code because it ties in with your religious beliefs. It's possible to link all five of these keys to Biblical teachings, and in fact, I'm sure that's one major reason why the folks in Mayberry live this way. While they rarely quote Scripture, there are several episodes that feature hymns and church - we know these things are on their minds.
If you don't choose to live this way for religious reasons, maybe you just do it because you know it’s the right thing to do.
Regardless of your reasons, I truly believe that if you make the decision to implement these five principles into your daily life, and you stick with them, you will see a difference! No, life won’t suddenly become as simple as it was on The Andy Griffith Show, but in your own way, I am confident that you can begin to…
live in Mayberry!