One might say Sherwood Schwartz was a pioneer, conceiving a sitcom for blended families well before society was willing to accept divorce. Inspired by a 1965 column in the Los Angeles Times, Schwartz developed a vision for a show which took 3 girls and their mother played by Florence Henderson, joining them together with Robert Reed who had 3 boys of his own from a previous marriage. When you add Alice, a live in maid staring Ann Davis, the Brady Bunch was born. This suburban family related to average citizens, coping with the same struggles a parent, teenager and sibling face daily. As shows like Little House on the Prairie became unrealistic, not achievable anymore, the Brady Bunch’s success led to 117 episodes from 1969-1974.
My favorite episode illustrates the battle which exists between brothers, Greg and Peter, who end up drawing a line down the middle of their room, attempting to distinguish who owned what. Relying on emotions, not wisdom, their joint decision is not well thought out as Greg has complete control of the bathroom, yet only Peter has access to the hallway door. Unfortunately, some people never mature, participating in ridiculous feuds over animals, children and possessions. This moral decay continues today as a typical two parent family with one mom and one dad is now a minority, on the verge of becoming obsolete. The Brady Bunch Generation has placed its stamp on American culture, embracing the imperfections so prevalent within mankind.
Genesis 31:1-2 reveals the beginning of a Brady Bunch like dispute between Laban and Jacob, whose name is later changed to Israel. This tiff causes Jacob to flee without talking out his differences, like a child trying to run away from home in Genesis 31:17. Laban pursues Jacob, eager to get things off his chest, Genesis 31:26. Like a good solider, Jacob quietly waits for his turn to respond, beginning to rumble like a volcano ready to blow, Genesis 31:35-42. Previously afraid of confrontation, Jacob releases his feelings which had been stored up for over 20 years. Once both men had spoken their mind, this exchange sets the scene for an unique peace treaty in Genesis 31:43-55. Instead of using tape to divide their territories, Laban and Jacob decide to use a heap of stones, creating a pillar. This structure laid the boundary, similar to modern day property lines, agreeing not to intrude on the others’ life anymore.
This episode and biblical account reveal several great life lessons. First, communication is crucial to maintaining peace with friends, family and neighbors. Second, expressing your emotions allows you to let go of any grudge or resentment that you may have toward an individual. Finally, when you bring other witnesses into your dispute, this serves as accountability down the road to prevent you from repeating the same mistake over again. No one can ever achieve perfection, but if you give God your best, Matthew 5:48, He can make the rest of your days on earth like a story book ending, at least as good as life can get.
by Jay Mankus