American Family Day: What ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Taught Us About Family

Here at Outsider, we know the importance of family. That word meads something different to everyone. For some, it is the family we’re born with. However, others find their familial unit somewhere along the way. Some people are lucky enough to marry into a group of people that transition from “the in-laws” to real family. It doesn’t matter what yours looks like. We know how important they are. To celebrate American Family Day, we’re looking back at some of the lessons The Andy Griffith Show taught us about the meaning of family.

It’s always nice to see your version of a family on TV. However, that wasn’t an option for many people in the early days of television. TV showed us a mom, dad, a couple of kids, and a white picket fence. The Andy Griffith Show, however, took a new approach to family. Sheriff Taylor was a widower who had to raise his son by himself for a time. Then, as the show’s cast grew in early episodes, Aunt Bee showed up to help.

The family at the center of The Andy Griffith Show didn’t look like the “average” American family. However, they were no less loving than an “average,” family. No one could deny that the Taylor family had more than enough love to go around.

The Andy Griffith Show brought plenty of laughs. However, the subtle way that it showed us the importance of family and the love they shared was the most important part of the series.

Lessons We Learned from ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

Just about every episode of The Andy Griffith Show has some lesson about family and love baked into the script. However, many of those lessons focus on Andy and Opie’s relationship.

Opie was an average American boy. So, of course, he was going to get into some trouble. However, The Andy Griffith Show never showed us an angry father bent on punishment. Instead, Sheriff Taylor kept a cool head. He was firm with his son. However, he never missed an opportunity to teach Opie. Every moment is a teachable moment when you’re among family. Andy showed us that.

At the same time, The Andy Griffith Show taught us about taking responsibility. If you’re going to successfully function as a family, it’s important to be accountable for what you say and do. Two episodes really highlight this.

For example, in “Opie the Birdman,” Opie accidentally kills a mother bird with a slingshot. Andy opens the window so he can hear the baby birds crying. So, the young man steps up and raises the birds until they can fly.

“Opie’s Charity,” is another episode of The Andy Griffith Show that teaches a solid lesson. Andy finds out that Opie only gave three cents to a school charity. That is disappointing for him. It gets worse when Opie says he’s saving his money to buy his girlfriend a gift. Andy sends him to his room without supper. Then, Andy finds out that Opie is buying his girlfriend a coat because her family can’t afford one. In the end, Andy “eats crow,” and apologizes to Opie.

All of these lessons center on one thing: the love of a strong family unit. Take some time to show your family a little extra love today.

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