High School Graduation. Perhaps the proudest moment of my life!
Today, we live in a world where hatred is evident and kindness is rare. Let me take you back to a gentler way of life: the year 1999. My mother and I lived with my grandma and grandpa. At this time, I was 5-years-old and beginning kindergarten. After school got out for the day at noon, Grandma would always have me sit down with her to watch TV Land. Now, call me ahead-of-my-time, but through watching TV, I can say that I somewhat grew up on classic TV shows. One show in particular has always stuck with me, even as I write this column 12 years later: “The Andy Griffith Show.” All of the characters resided in the little town of Mayberry, North Carolina. In the world of Mayberry, hatred was nonexistent, and people were nice to each other the majority of the time. In Mayberry, everybody knew each other’s name. Whenever anyone walked along the town streets, citizens always stopped to exchange a smile and a quick hello.
For my generation, it is hard to imagine what it is like to live in that “dream world” where everybody in town is friendly and hatred is nowhere in sight. On “The Andy Griffith Show,” the youngest character was the sheriff’s son, Opie. Since he was one of the youngest characters on the show, he often had more conflicts than the older characters did. Throughout my time watching this show, the biggest conflict that I remember Opie ever having was the time where he was upset with someone who had stolen his bike. Opie did have anger towards the person who stole his bike and often wanted to go to the schoolyard to fight this person. However, he never let violence have its way. The problem was always resolved by the end of the show by Opie’s father, Andy, who always helped Opie reason out the best response towards the offender—no violence. Boy, do I wish that the biggest problem in life was over someone who had stolen my bike. I wish even more so that all of my problems could be resolved in a matter of twenty minutes.
As I follow the news today, I have to conclude that our authority figures are not always like Sheriff Andy Taylor. Some adults actually make conflicts worse than they originally were and are not the best people to go to for advice. But, Sheriff Andy Taylor was a man who had the ability to settle community problems with his common-sense advice and problem-solving techniques. He always brought the people of Mayberry closer together by telling them to be friendly to each person they encountered. Even better, he set the example for his son in his own life. As a result of this, Sheriff Taylor was a well-respected authority figure in Mayberry—and the viewing audience loved him. I have many authority figures in my own life that I can go to for advice and help in solving conflicts, but I still long for someone like Andy Taylor that I could go to for help.
At 5-years-old, I wanted to live in a world just like Mayberry. Looking back 12 years later writing this column, I can still say that I long to live in Mayberry, North Carolina. A world full of kindness. A world without hatred. A world without violence. And most importantly, a world with very few problems. Shortly after being introduced to “The Andy Griffith Show,” my grandmother passed away of cancer. I think the message she was trying to get across to me at age 5 was that I should always live my life in way that I would be able to make the world a better place to live in. And I would urge everyone who is reading this to act in a way where a world like Mayberry, North Carolina may soon be a reality rather than a dream.