We like to have “Family Television Night” at our house, and are always looking for good family movies and television shows to watch with our young children. We’ve seen a little bit of everything, from Disney classics like The Princess and the Frog to utter silliness like the tutu-wearing lumberjack from The Tooth Fairy 2. One thing we’ve noticed is that really good shows (translation: they keep the kids’ interest and still teach a positive lesson) are few and far between.
Recently, however, my wife had a brilliant idea. “I used to love watching old classics like Dick Van Dyke and The Andy Griffith Show with my parents,” she told me excitedly. “Let’s try it out!”
So we did. At first, our seven-year-old daughter was shocked as the fuzzy image came onto the screen. “It’s black and white,” she cried incredulously.
“Of course,” I said cheerfully. “This show is a classic!”
She wasn’t sure at first, but after a few minutes of watching the two of us laugh at Barney Fife’s ridiculous antics and Opie’s mischievous ways until our sides hurt, she couldn’t help but laugh along with us. And you know what she did the very next night? She ran through the house shouting, “Andy Griffin! Andy Griffin! Pleeeeeeeaaasseee!!!!”
I was so thrilled that we’d found a new show, I didn’t even have the heart to tell her she was saying the poor man’s name wrong!
The thing is, they just don’t make television shows the way they used to – and that’s a real shame. Because wholesome programs like Andy Griffith do much more than entertain us, they open our eyes to a different time, a different way of life, a different pace… and help us to learn a couple of very important lessons:
1.) It Don’t Take Much to Be Happy – My favorite scene of the pilot episode comes just before the ending credits, where Andy and Aunt Bee are sitting on the porch. Aunt Bee is knitting, and Andy is singing with his guitar. That was all they had as far as entertainment, but they were just as happy as could be… maybe our kids need to realize that all the gadgets and background noise really aren’t a necessity – and yes (as my iPhone buzzes angrily at me… again…) we could probably stand to be reminded of this ourselves!
2.) A Little Humility is a Good Thing – As I experience the show again, I am so impressed with Andy Griffith’s humility. These days it seems that everyone wants a big name and lots of respect, and it’s so refreshing to see this pillar in the community (the town sheriff) not let pride get to his head. In one episode, Barney cries, “We don’t want the state police to think we’re just a little hick town!” To which Andy laughs and says, “Now come on, Barney… isn’t that about the size of it?” I loved this line, and was reminded that deciding not to take ourselves too seriously can increase our influence, rather than diminish it.
So long story short – I don’t know which shows you enjoy watching with your kids these days. But as for me and my house – we’re watching Andy Griffith!
How About You?
What classic television programs do you still enjoy?