Thursday, May 24, 2018

You Wear It Well

Teaching teens and barely teens, I see quite a few kids who aren't sure who they want to be or at least who they want others to perceive them to be.  Sometimes, we find it uncomfortable to be ourselves and I find it refreshing to see folks who know who they are and accept it.  Once I year, when I talk about Jesus and His authority as something people recognized, I show an episode of The Andy Griffith Show.  Here is something amazing: many of my students have never heard of The Andy Griffith Show...which means they have ever heard of Barney Fife. You could teach Bible lessons from Don Knotts' character and some people have. We all have flaws and Barney's were often glaring but that's why we loved him. The following is from 2-28-06.

I don't believe in omens but for three straight days, I heard Rod Stewart's hit You Wear It Well on 107.5 FM radio. It seemed like a great title for today's entry so here goes. You can't turn on television or open a magazine without seeing weight loss ads. It might be through diets or supplements or exercise but the goal is the same. One common theme these advertisements share is old clothes. In before and after pictures, we see how the dramatically slimmer customer no longer fits into former wardrobes. It's amazing to see the transformation. We go through life wanting our clothes to fit and suddenly, we are overjoyed when they don't. God bless those who struggle to maintain a certain fitness level. It isn't easy for everyone. Part of us always wants to be changing into the new and improved us. Plastic surgery and cosmetics can change our outward appearance. The inside is harder to deal with.

Don Knotts died this week at eighty-one. To generations, he was simply Barney Fife, the role he perfected in his years on The Andy Griffith Show. The winner of five Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actor, Barney was the show to me. He had bumbling down to an art form. We knew he had a good heart and tried to do right but he always messed up. He was so human, a representation of Average Joe. Even when he played in other TV series or in the movies, he played the same role. Oh, the name of the character would change from job to job but he was still Barney Fife. That's what I admired about Don Knotts. I never saw him play a romantic lead or an avenging hero. He knew who he was and he wasn't ashamed of it. He was a nice guy who was brilliant at what he did. In the words of Rod Stewart, Don Knotts wore it well. I saw a cable network is running a 48 hour Barney Fife marathon. I can't think of a more fitting tribute to the only actor who could make "Nip it in the bud!" one of the most memorable lines in television history.

What do I learn from Don Knotts? He was typecast but is that so bad? Isn't that what we want people to see in us, consistency in our life? I would prefer others knew what they were getting when their lives crossed mine and not have to predict my unreliable behavior. I would also hope that I could accept who I am and not be embarrassed by my strong points. Many coaches, especially young ones, mimic famous coaches to the degree they never develop their own style or personality. Christians do that, too. We model ourselves after other Christians instead of being who we are, a child of God. Barney wasn't Andy and when he tried to be, he failed miserably. On the other hand, Andy wasn't Barney but he recognized the gifts and passion that his deputy did have... and honored them. Most of us would rather be Andy than Barney but the world needs them both, just like the world needs you and me.

Applicable quote of the day:
"If there's anything that upsets me, it's having people say I'm sensitive."

Barney Fife

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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Jon said...

Don Knotts was a great actor. I loved watching his stuff

JKC said...

Through years and years of re-runs, young folks today even know who Barney Fife is. He has touched many lives, brought many laughs. He will truly be remembered.