Be More Waltons And Less Kardashians

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

It is very rare for me to watch television, especially with my 7-year-old. I mean seriously, who has the time? However, yesterday my son and I found ourselves in the waiting room of the clinic for flu shots. I was very moved by what was on the television, so much so that I feel I absolutely have to share it. 

On the tube was Season 1 Episode 9 of the Waltons, I had to look it up. The brief portion I saw made me feel that this episode in particular should be required viewing to our youth. Jon Boy, his father and both grandparents were all sitting around the radio. On the radio they were taking about Nazi Germany burning a bunch of books. That’s when Jon Boy cuts off the radio and blows his top. He just couldn’t understand why anyone would want to suppress ideas, no matter how different they are. How ridiculous building a master race seems when we’re all different. He gave the example that even within his own family, everyone was different and they rarely agreed completely with one another.  

There were other valuable lessons in this episode like the boys running away when they missed with a slingshot and broke the window of the new Germans of Jewish ancestry on Walton Mountain. I immediately explained to my son that it was wrong to run away from a problem, no matter how big or small. Those boys should have immediately apologized for their mistake and offered reconciliation.   

So here’s my point. Somewhere along the way, we have lost our way as a people. On social media, we prefer an echo chamber, and ridicule anyone that disagrees with our point of view. Left wing, right wing, alt left, alt right, whatever you want to call the flavor of the month. We prefer to use a social compass rather than moral compass. I just wish we could all just, for goodness sake, try to understand other points of view. Be open to the possibility that hey, maybe I’ve been going about this all wrong.  

A wise man once told me the following: 

The only way you will ever achieve true personal growth is by reflection coupled with a certain measure of empathy. Take a look within and assess where you are and what things brought you to this point in your life, good and bad. What do you take away from those things. Now, employ a little empathy and try to understand why those around you do the things they do. What would you do if you were walking in their shoes. You don't have to agree with or like anyone. But, if you'll do those two things at least you took your own adult approach to living life, instead of just following the crowd to nowhere. Now please go out and do something nice for a total stranger. Not because you should, but because you can. 

James Berry
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