For the past 4 or 5 years, I have presented “Life lessons from Mayberry” at our adult forum between Sunday services at the Northfield United Methodist Church. I usually take a couple of Sundays each year highlighting an episode of my favorite TV sitcom, the Andy Griffith Show.
My interest in the show runs deep, rooted in the fact that I grew up at the same time of the show’s initial run and I grew up in a small town in Iowa, living the same values, work ethic, and developing those relationships just like in Mayberry, America’s hometown.
Over the years, my forums included episodes such as “Man in a Hurry, Opie the Birdman, Sermon for the Day, Mr. McBeevee, and Opie and the Bully” to name a few. This past Sunday, I showed “Andy Forecloses,” this episode in which Andy is asked to serve papers evicting a family who failed to pay their mortgage on time. Old Ben Weaver, owner of the property, is so intent on following the letter of the law that he forgets the human element, and in this case, the devastating effect on the Scobees, the family who is forced to pack up and leave their home.
The discussion, from those in attendance at the forum, reminds us of some important “life lessons” we can all do well to revisit. We as legislators have to remember that the laws we pass, revise or repeal have real effects on real people. Face to face discussions with other lawmakers and constituents help us connect with real stories for better understanding. While it is easy to follow the letter of the law, what are some of the important principles behind the legislation?
As Barney, Andy, Aunt Bee, and even Opie kick off the fund drive to “Save the Scobees” we are reminded how important community is in meeting the needs of individuals. Our civic groups, schools, our churches, and other community organizations often are asked to fill the gaps when individuals and families are “down on their luck.” As a state, we certainly want to support these groups and communities in their efforts to assist our neighbors to ensure their basic needs are being met. In some instances, we as a state need to step in to fill the gaps. Those initiatives should be purposeful with input from all those who are affected. We can turn the power of one into the power of many. I hope we are not too busy to stop, look around, and offer a hand to those in need. It is the Mayberry way.