Passing down our family heritages to our children is perhaps, at the very top of the “Important Things To Teach Our Kids” list for Grady and I. Ranching and the cowboy way of life aren’t skills that can simply be taught in a trade school after high school graduation. They’re teachings that are handed down from the older generations to the next. They are codes of life and work that our youth learn by watching and mimicking their mentors. Grady and I, both, deeply value and respect the way we were raised in this lifestyle and want the same for our children.
At this juncture in our life story we’re not able to provide the ranching lifestyle, but our extended family is.
A few weeks ago we visited my parents for the afternoon. My father had something up his sleeve. He’d made a few “suspect” phone calls earlier in the week requesting measurement information for Tucker. Knowing my father and his innocent “sneakiness” we gave the information and made bets on what he was up to. I was fairly certain I knew, but kept my excitement hushed.
To no surprise, during our visit, Tucker and Papa disappeared for an hour or so and Nana had her guilty grin all over her face. I KNEW I was right. Upon their return Tucker’s face was shining with excitement. I knew my boy… Papa had rebuilt the kid saddle I learned to ride in and had taken Tuck to “test drive” a new horse. My father decided it was time for Tucker to learn to ride, to learn the trade and learn to handle cattle. Upon their return there were big conversations between the two about commitment and dedication to learning. After much reassurance from Tucker, Papa made arrangements for the horse and Tucker to become permanent buddies the following week.
Don’t laugh too hard. He came with that name. We find it rather amusing.
My boy spent three days with Nana and Papa getting acquainted with his new steed. Under strict instructions, Nana documented his accomplishments.
Getting on is no easy task, especially when your horse is on the HUGE scale. But… it was always instilled in my siblings and I that if we couldn’t get on by ourselves we couldn’t ride. It may sound cruel, but if you’re forced to get off your horse in the middle of the pasture and don’t have someone around to give you a boost it’s a REALLY long walk back to the house. Sooo… with much coaching and encouragement he learned how to climb up the side Reginold using what he had around him. Resourcefulness…. key lesson.
What he didn’t know was that he has always been a cowboy. Now he has the tools and means to live it.
This is just the beginning of his cowboy adventures this summer. He’ll spend time with Papa and Reginold every week learning, riding, laughing and… making mistakes to learn from. No doubt, he will come home each time taller, stronger, smarter and with a confidence to carry him many miles.
The joy and pride that his journey brings to his father and I is immeasurable. Whatever path he chooses in life, the lessons he’s being taught right now will serve him well.
Peace, love and deep roots.