John Wooden, the legendary coach of a UCLA basketball dynasty, was once quoted as saying, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think of you.”
We are all so blessed to live and work in an agricultural community that reflects some amazing values and moral strength of character. The horrible school shootings that continue to ravage our country and the resulting debate on how to “fix it” is what prompts my thoughts today.
Everyone, rightfully and necessarily, is trying to “find a way” to stop this madness. What has struck me, among other things, during this ongoing debate is the fact that it’s not our kids; it is not the kids of farmers and ranchers that have been responsible for any of these tragedies. When I reflect on it I can’t help but believe that it’s because of the environment they all grow up in. They grow up, for the most point, in homes with parents or a parent who has to get up and get after it every day. Those kids also have to get up and get after it. Most of them have chores that have to be done. This not only gives them a much needed work ethic, it teaches them responsibility. It also has some value in just keeping them busy. Most of them are going to be disciplined if they don’t behave, are disrespectful in any way, or cross line the line between right and wrong….if they don’t stand for the National Anthem. And I do mean disciplined. I’m no brain surgeon but you don’t have to hit me with a rock too many times before I get the message. I can’t help but believe that if we could “find a way” to share those lessons (and the love) with all kids that would go a long way towards stopping the craziness.
And while I’m on the soapbox about these problems I can’t help but think about the fact that these kids are exposed to so much more violence, etc. then we were. We grew up watching Andy Griffin (still do!). They are too often playing graphic video games where they are shooting people and blowing people up. I’m just stupid enough to think that this doesn’t make a lot of sense until you are old enough to fully understand the difference between life and games. I also think playing team sports or being a part of FFA or 4H or other clubs are invaluable activities in that they teach kids how to work with others for the good of all ….just saying. I guess I am officially an old fuddy duddy.
Spring is sprung and I know everyone is processing calves and working cows. I hope everyone is able to really enjoy this special time of the year. I know I enjoy having the opportunity to get out the office a little more and on the back of a horse a little more. Never miss an opportunity to find us a new member. We are a grass roots bunch which means we always need to be growing more grass every chance we can. Hope I see you soon.