I never thought I would say this, but I am definitely a Duck Dynasty fan. My appreciation for the show, however, was not love at first sight, because I proverbially, “judged the book by its cover.” I thought there was nothing this group of self-professed “rednecks” and I would have in common.
However, one fateful evening I decided to watch the hit series. To my surprise, I found myself smiling at the gentle and country ways of sweet Mrs. Kay, laughing out loud at the slow witticism of Pa Phil and Jase, and busting a gut at Uncle Si, “simply telling the truth, Jack!”
Now I look forward to a new episode each week wondering what my virtual country redneck family has in store for me. And as I celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I realize that Duck Dynasty, or the Robertson family values, epitomizes all the things that I am grateful for during Thanksgiving: family, food, God, and contentment.
One only has to watch a single episode to know that this family has a genuine love and respect for one another. While they may often disagree about what they should do, or how they should go about doing something, they are always respectful in their disagreement. Even when the idea is a train wreck, like making wine from grocery store grapes and sugar, they have each other’s back and allow family members to learn from their mistakes.
When it comes to food, it is sometimes a challenge for this “city girl” to cook major meals for my family. So, when I see Mrs. Kay effortlessly whipping up country culinary feasts for her clan, I marvel.
Sometimes I wish I could join in eating Louisiana meals like fried catfish and corn on the cob. Other times, I am glad I am grateful just to watch them eat their more exotic delicacies like frog’s legs and fried squirrel.
Still, no matter what the delicacy, I appreciate how the family members sit respectfully, and with eyes closed, share in the prayer for thanksgiving before eating.
In a culture that seems to avoid any reference to God, and particularly Jesus Christ, it is so refreshing to see the Robertsons live out their faith in God each week. They show that faith does not have to be fake, manufactured, or political. Rather, it can be a quiet abiding witness to a personal relationship with God, which they demonstrate, for example, in their commentaries, conversations, and meal-time prayers.
Perhaps the thing I find most profound about the Robertsons is that in spite of being incredibly wealthy, they are content in being who they are. In other words, they have not “gone Hollywood.”
Rather than trying to ingratiate themselves with Louisiana’s elite, they seem more content in simply going fishing or hunting together. And rather than acquiring large homes, cars, and other signs of wealth, they seem content with living off the land and making use of their hoarded treasures.
After each episode of Duck Dynasty, I find myself feeling a little more light-hearted and grateful for my own family and friends. I see how the simple traditions I am forging for my own family are not so frivolous and that sentimental treasures truly do have value.
Having this sense of gratitude in life is, I believe, the very heart of Thanksgiving. So, this Thanksgiving I hope we can all catch Duck Dynasty fever by feasting with our families, being thankful to God, and simply being content with who we are.
These are the values that have made our country truly great, “and that ain’t no bull, Jack!”[Bonnie B. Willis is co-founder of The Willis Group, LLC, a Learning, Development, and Life Coaching company here in Fayette County and lives in Fayetteville along with her husband and their five children.]