Tuesday, May 11, 2010

No comparison

“After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother and His brothers and His disciples; and they stayed there a few days” -John 2:12

All families are different and the differences are varied and wonderful. Family traditions and styles are what make each family unique and appropriate to each home. One of the problems with the current pace and size of media today is that there’s too much comparison. Parents and teens compare themselves to TV shows and magazine articles. And I can't think of a worse comparison standard!

Contrary to popular opinion, there is not one right way to raise a child. Certainly there are basic principles of integrity, honesty and faith that need to be incorporated into every child’s upbringing, but style of a family is determined by the prayerful conviction of mom and dad.

One of my favorite Andy Griffith episodes is “Mayberry Goes Hollywood.” When a Hollywood producer wants to make his latest movie in Mayberry, the Town Council is suspicious of his motives, concerned that he may just want to make fun of the town and its people. Andy takes the producer, Mr. Harmon, on a tour of Mayberry, sizing him up at the same time. Once he realizes that Harmon means no harm, Andy manages to convince the council and they agree to have the picture made.

As soon as the producer heads back to California, however, the Mayberry Gazette prints the story under a banner headline and Hollywood fever strikes Mayberry like lightening. The town loafers sport three-piece suits and stores offer everything from Cary Grant haircuts to Hollywood funerals. It seems that everyone, except Andy, (even Barney, Aunt Bee and Opie) catches the film bug. The Mayor, the Town Council and the entire town become convinced that they must fundamentally alter themselves in order to live up to Hollywood's expectations.
When Mr. Harmon returns with his crew he is astounded to find that the simple, pure Mayberry he wanted to film has morphed into a Hollywood Mayberry. Exasperated, he explains that he wanted to film Mayberry in its natural state, not all gussied up and phony looking and scolds the town just before it destroys part of its heritage by cutting down a landmark tree. A bit embarrassed, as if a spell had been broken, the mayor and townsfolk come to their senses returning Mayberry to normal.

Though the people of Mayberry were convinced that the town needed to change, truth is the way they were was just fine. It wasn’t till they compared to Hollywood that they lost their uniqueness.

So, don't let your teenager set the tone for the family. “Everyone does this and all the other families are doing that,” says your 16 year old. Let them know that you’re not responsible for their families, but that you are accountable for your family. So, the curfew will stay the same or we will all eat dinner together tonight or you won't be allowed to go to that movie. If neighboring families do it one way, you’re okay to prayerfully stick to your tradition. Even if you’re accused of being “boring,” go see the relatives over the break.

Stick to your convictions. And don't let comparison take away the beautiful traditions that define the uniqueness of the family.

By Joseph Staples ©

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