I was a child of the 80’s. I grew up on a steady intake of 80’s pop culture ranging from Transformers to The Cosby Show. Recently however, I have been enjoying a revisiting of my wife’s formative years, which were very different than my pogo ball and Mr. T infused experience.
Sarah’s childhood was what I would call a throwback experience. Instead of Full House and Perfect Strangers, her parents raised her on a steady diet of Mash, The Andy Griffith Show, Leave it to Beaver and Gomer Pyle. Needless to say, these shows were not even a part of my vocabulary during those years, but for my wife, they were highly quoted and followed religiously.
My introduction to her past has been through DVR recordings of The Andy Griffith Show. At first, I was a little skeptical but was intrigued by the popularity of the show and the classic characters that have been woven into our culture’s DNA. After watching several episodes I have to admit while it holds no nostalgic appeal, there is a certain simplicity and comfort that comes from watching Andy and Barney and the hijinks that ensue.
I was struck by a plot theme in some of the early episodes that I think relates to a potent reality of the human experience. The episodes would center on Andy and his effort to teach his son Opie a life lesson such as honesty, and then later in the show Opie would innocently call Andy out on the same lesson in a conflict that Andy was dealing with. Andy would then try to explain to Opie that it was different because he was an adult and slowly but surely Andy realized that it wasn’t any different and that the principle was the same. For Andy, he believed that what was true for Opie the child wasn’t relevant to Andy the adult. This was a belief that was outside of Andy’s awareness until Opie called Andy on it and brought it to the forefront of Andy’s thinking.
These scenes reminded me of a question that we must ask ourselves. What beliefs do we have about who we are and how we interact with the world around us? What truths hold authority in our lives and where did they come from? Did they come from our parents, a teacher, something a mean kid said on the playground in 4th grade…and are they really true?
A beautiful part of our job and the counseling experience, is to help our clients understand and identify what beliefs they have about themselves and their world and how these beliefs might be causing them to live dysfunctional and unhealthy lives. Part of our calling is to help clients replace lies with truth and shift to a biblical understanding of who they are and how living out of that experience can change their lives.