Reposted from the old site:

Ok… many of you know that I have recently acquired digital satellite service for the house. Yes — the clarity and sound are amazing. And, yes — the amount of channels available boggles the mind. But, I have come to realize the best aspect of my new system is the Game Show Network.

So, in the tradition of Robert Fulghum’s “All I ever needed to know, I learned in Kindergarten,” I gladly present:

All I ever needed to know,
I learned from watching the Family Feud.

Note: Some die-hard TV fans know that there have been several versions of the game show over the past 30 years. I really only considered the original Family Feud when writing this. I’m sure the other versions with Ray Combs and Louie Anderson provided many additional lessons, but for me there can only be one. And his name is Richard Dawson.

The premise of the Feud was simple: Two teams composed of five members from the same family, compete against each other to match answers from a survey of one hundred people. However, what we could learn from watching these families interact with each other, themselves, and Mr. Richard Dawson was in no way anything short of extraordinary.

For the last month, I’ve been re-watching many of these episodes, and here are some of the many lessons I’ve remembered:

1) Encourage each other positively.

There are no stupid answers. Ok, that’s wrong. There are an amazing amount of stupid answers. In fact, some of the responses on the Feud are so stupid that you wonder how this person remembers to breathe. Just today, when asked to “Name an animal you might find at the zoo,” the family patriarch said “dog.”

Clearly this is a stupid answer. But what did his family do? Did they scream and curse? No. Did they berate him in front of America? Not at all. In fact, everyone clapped and told him, “Good Answer.” When the big board presented our hero with a strike, the family all consoled the man with a group “Awwww” and tried again.

Later on these lessons would be echoed in the smash hit, Galaxy Quest : “Never give up! Never surrender!”

2) It’s the little things that matter most.

Many visiting families often presented Richard Dawson with gifts from their home towns. Gifts ranged from golf clubs to tennis racquets, bottles of wine to canisters of caviar; but the gifts that got the most attention were the little ones. Many families would spend time personalizing a shirt, painting a little picture, or some other act that required thought and planning, rather than a quick trip to the store. These are the gifts that made Mr. Dawson smile the most.

If you doubt me, just watch the episode where a family made Richard Dawson’s likeness out of macaroni. You can’t fake that smile.

3) Everyone needs a little personal attention.

Black or white, short or tall, thin or fat– every woman received a kiss from Mr. Dawson. From the young to the young at heart, Richard Dawson got personal with the contestants. Very personal. He shared the hugs, the tears, and the laughter. And it showed.

Personally, I think there may have been a little too much kissing, but then again how can a man that has kissed thousands of women be wrong?

4) To have winners, you must have losers.

Even a family that gives their best may not take home the money. Sometimes, it’s just luck that makes one person more successful than another. The bottom line is that if you try your hardest, you will always walk away with something.

So, (to paraphrase the great Forrest Gump), am I trying to say that “Life is like a box of Family Feud…?” Surely not. But, if you take a minute and think about it, wouldn’t it be great if it were?