Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Calf Wrangling - THE ROUNDUP

My family spends time at a rustic forest cabin outside Payson, Arizona. It’s located near Zane Grey’s original cabin site below the mogollon rim and above diamond rim in the Tonto National Forest. Recently, the forest rangers permitted the land for cattle grazing.

As I survey the landscape around our cabin, evidence exists the local cowboy uses all-terrain vehicles to roundup the cattle rather than horseback. I wonder if it is the “new normal” for local ranchers. It falls short in the perception I’ve come to understand of the character of men watching over the herd on the open range. Historic cowboys of the desert southwest have character formed from a mold of hardship. Toughness, hard work and honesty arise out of a daily regiment of riding long distances over hot, dusty trail.

Children of recent generations are often raised without the compelling hardship the children of the past endured. Think about it: we do not grow our crops or raise our livestock; we do not remove our trash, clean our water, or manage our waste; we lack skills to build, repair, or invent. It isn’t common to partner with our neighbor to “bring in the harvest.” I wonder if we are causing a generation to journey in to adulthood without the admirable character traits hard work and hardship bring.

Lives built on comfort require little faith in God (Hebrews 11:6). Success driven character often sets integrity aside (Proverbs 10:9). Self-control becomes a forgotten virtue (Proverbs 25:28). Stamina gives way to impulse (Romans 5:3-5). Familiar and safe trumps risk so courage turns out to be obsolete (Joshua 1:9). Emphasis on “self” out weighs loving others (Philippians 2:3).

Video games and television induce a false perception of hard work. Accomplishment in points accumulated does not translate in to tangible achievement. Watching a farmer, veterinarian, plumber or rancher on television does not translate in to execution of tasks.

I find myself asking questions for our family: what do we really do that promotes strong character? Do we build, invent, explore, create, cultivate, or search?  Do we endure, mature, direct, or overcome?

I am coming to learn my responsibility as a parent is to have a strategy in place to develop the heart, mind, and soul (Mark ) with a fervor that brings glory to our heavenly Father. If I emphasize superior education but not compassion for our neighbors then I fall short. They are not mutually exclusive. What if their education leads them to a compassionate, courageous purpose?

Dr. Tim Kimmel teaches us how to "Raise Kids Who Turn Out Right."

Be sure to read other posts in this Calf Wrangling series:

The Rider
The Horse
The Relationship
The Roundup
The Team


Anonymous said...

I sometimes wonder if I - or my children in this case - can learn to have Godly contentment in any situation if we don't occasionally find ourselves in "any situation." I like your idea of looking for opportunities to teach chilren to be able to work hard, be patient, endure hardship and still know how blessed they are by God in thed midst of their labor.