define(WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE, true); add_filter( auto_update_plugin, __return_true ); add_filter( auto_update_theme, __return_true ); Boys to Men – Welcome to the Ranch!

Boys to Men

I grew up listening to Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, among other country legends, but I never did understand their song, “Mama’s Don’t let your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys.” Not because of the lyrics, but simply because of the title. I grew up around a bunch of ranchers and they were all good, hard-working, manly men.

As a proud mama of four boys, I want my boys to grow up to be good, hard-working, manly men, too. My husband and I encourage them to play outside, work with their hands, etc. as well as read great books. We place just as much emphasis on real life skills as academics.

So when cows need to be worked and calves need to be tagged for identification purposes, we don’t leave them home playing video games. They come out to the ranch truck with jeans, boots, and lariats. Our two youngest boys are now 7 and 6 years old. They asked my husband if they could ride horses with their older brother, Jake. He gave his permission.

What a beautiful sight! Watching my three youngest boys from 13 to 6 in age, push the entire herd up the alley and into the working pens on top of eager and alert horses. The cattle respect the horses and don’t try to charge past; however, the boys had to work them back and forth in order to keep the mass of cattle tight and traveling together.

I regretted the fact that I did not have a camera or even my phone on me to capture this moment in time. It would have been a cool photograph to share with you, but instead I tried to imprint the image in my mind.

My boys were not only commanding animals that outweigh them by hundreds of pounds or herding cattle exactly where they needed to go, but they were working together. As a team, they accomplished the job set before them.

There were two kinds of teams. The first was a team of brothers. Boys that spend a good portion of the day wrestling, arguing, and being rambunctious were being calm, helpful, and focused on the shared goal. Then there was the rider and horse teams. Isaac was riding Ladd, Andrew was riding Dolly, and Jake was riding his horse, Jack. Together they all worked as one team.

After the work was done hours later, I watched my two youngest trot their horses up a hill in belly-deep grass blowing gently in the breeze. They were taking care to see that their horses had an opportunity to drink from the water trough before trailering back to the home ranch. No one told them to; they knew what needed to be done to take care of their teammate, and they did it.

My husband and I are not perfect parents. We make mistakes all the time. Some of you reading this might think that this day was riddled with parental failures. You might think we are completely out of our minds to let our boys near cattle on horseback. Maybe its the country in us, but we don’t see it that way. It is not only a way of life. It is part of how we raise boys to men.

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