Lessons Learned from a Legendary Man
Andy Griffith passed away today at the age of 86. In the 1960’s, he put together a special cast of characters and a television show that will never grow old. The values taught on almost every episode of the Andy Griffith Show were values that every true warrior show aspire to.
The Andy Griffith Show was not only great entertainment, but taught values such as character, honesty, honor, facing your fears, humility, giving, forgiveness, being a true friend, helping those in need, patience, and love. And this was all done with class, humor, and always with a tug on the the heart.
Griffith’s character in the show, Andy Taylor, was a true warrior. No, he didn’t talk tough, nor did he do martial arts. He didn’t carry a gun, although he accessed weapons when he needed them, and we almost never saw him fight. He didn’t take his authority overly seriously or abuse his power, but rather used his position to help as many people as he could.
He always worked to bring common sense to the governmental, bureaucratic politicians, but did so in a friendly way, without being hostile, demeaning or pushy, always thinking about what was right, not was was simply legal.
He kept his ego in check and was always willing to let others take the credit for his own accomplishments in order to build their self-esteem and try to help them better their lives. He kept his pride in check and got pleasure in seeing how he helped others improve their lives.
With Andy, others came first. He was always respectful of other people’s feelings. He used common sense in applying the law instead of using the law as a way to collect as much tax money from people as possible, as so many cops do today. He was truly a lawman that served and protected people, and in return people had respect for him instead of fear.
He was always willing to sit down and explain things to those whose life had veered off the right path. He took insults with a grain of salt, and at the same time looked for the good in all people.
When someone was in need, he was always willing to help when he could. When someone was feeling down, he always worked to make them feel better. When something was wrong, he tried to make it right. When he was wrong, he apologized and made amends.
When a friend was in trouble, he went out of his way to be there for him. When a predator came prowling around the people he loved and cared for, he stepped up to make sure his friends and loved ones remained safe. He never hesitated to put his life on the line and do his duty when it came to that.
He was ever prepared for trouble, but never went looking for it. He was a busy man, but always made time for friends and family. When a word from him would help someone improve their life, he gladly volunteered to help, always thinking of others’ feelings.
Andy Taylor was soft spoken most of the time, but his words were full of wisdom. He was happy, mellow, and laid back, but could get serious and take care of business at the drop of a hat. And, even when he needed to get serious, he could do so without raising his voice. The tone and seriousness of his voice was enough to get his point across.
His priorities were always his family, his friends, his community, and a dedication to what was right. He was sincere and didn’t put on heirs.
He used common sense in his enforcement of the law, instead of being a stickler for the “rules,” something many cops and judges could learn from in today’s society. His focus was on the common good and what was just, not the letter of the laws, written and passed by corrupt politicians. And, he did it all with a friendly, loving smile.
He could fit in by simply being himself, whether he was wearing a coat and tie with the rich and powerful, or a pair of jeans and fishing hat with the local guys.
Taylor earned the respect of those who knew him, but he didn’t let that respect, or his position, go to his head.
Andy Taylor was a true warrior. The lessons taught on that one television show are timeless, and the wisdom packed into that show, for those who are open to it, is truly lessons for life.
If you are too young to remember it, rent the DVD’s or go back and watch the reruns. If you haven’t seen the show in a while, go back and watch it with these values in mind and see what you learn.
I raise a glass to Andy Griffith to honor the life of a quality man and someone who exemplified the qualities of a true warrior and a quality human being.