John Wayne starred in a movie titled, “Cowboys,” in which a group of young boys become men. They did not grow much older on the trail, but they did come of age. By being entrusted with responsibility, each boy developed a great work ethic. Each boy returned home a different person as the trials of life shaped them into men.
I personally think that our society is full of overgrown boys. Men-sized boys who are more interested in self-gratification and the here and now without the vision to see into their future. I see this problem not only with males, but with females as well. Few seem to look long-term. We, as a society, seem very short-sighted.
I also think that this problem permeates all areas of life. Parents seem to wait expectantly for the time when their children finally leave home. They are tired of having to provide for them, clean up their mistakes, etc. I do not think that our society places enough emphasis on how important ones job as a parent is. In fact we seem to demean anyone who makes financial sacrifices as they dedicate their lives to their family. How many times have you heard or said yourself, “Oh, I am just a mom (dad).”
We are a little old-fashioned at Cross Creek Cattle Company. And, that is just fine with us. We purposely spend a lot of time together as a family. Not just our immediate family, but our extended family as well. We invest our time, talents, and energy to operate a cattle and horse ranch in the 21st century. It is not for the money. Ranches do not make the money they once did. We do it for the love of it. We love working together to accomplish something. We love having a common purpose. We love the work ethic it takes to run the ranch. It surely does not run itself.
As a mom, I want my four sons and daughter to grow up with a vision. To grow into their adult bodies, wise beyond their years. I want them to experience life and learn from it. I want them to know responsibility. I want them to be prepared to be able to survive on their own. I look forward to the day when they leave of their own accord to make their own mark on the world, as men and women in the true sense of the word.
Therefore, it is no accident that when we worked cows this morning that all of our kids were there. Jake helped Lane sort the calves. Clayton and I worked different gates. Kyla watched the “babies” Isaac and Andrew in the barn where they still felt part of the action.
When I deemed it perfectly safe, I allowed the two boys to come into the round pen and stand on the catwalk adjacent to the chute. We needed to load calves to take to the sale. Each boy had a cow working stick like everyone else. Isaac could barely see the calves over the protective wooden wall of the chute, but he smiled as he yelled, “Get on outta here cows! Yah!”
His smile said everything. He felt a part of the team. He helped load the cows. He cannot wait until we have to work together again. Even Andrew, who just sat on the catwalk holding a stick, said, “Yah, cow! Yah, cow!” At three years and nineteen months of age, my little boys are becoming cowboys, who will one day become men.