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Tales from the O-NO Ranch

by Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

I recently read of a case study that seemed to strongly indicate that children that get to play outside where there are trees and shrubs and green grass seem to be in better health and can adjust easier to life’s little problems.

Wow! Who would have thought it? That’s right, gentle readers. If your kids spend enough time in the outdoors at play and are surrounded by nature at its best (or close to it) the little varmints do better and feel better.

I grew up on the drab west Texas plains where Mequite trees were about the only trees around that were native. As I’ve written in the past, I grew up in an oil field camp on the Mallet Ranch just outside of Sundown, Texas. The pastures were full of the little scrubby Mesquite trees, but the camp was surrounded by Chinese elm trees that were planted years ago. We had yards with green grass and my mom was president of the little local Garden Club, so of course, there were lots of flowers and plants and bushes to help make me a more normal, productive little boy. Truth or psycho-babble?

I’ve also read lately where more and more of our kids are being diagnosed with bi-polar disorders at earlier and earlier ages. For me, I think that our kids are not allowed to be little kids anymore. They just are forced to grow up too fast and are treated like little adults long before they need all the pressure and responsibilities that are placed on them to achieve, achieve, achieve.

There is a big difference in a farm or ranch kid being given the responsibility of doing chores around the place and a kid that has no real place to explore and just sort of “run wild” in the woods or down by the creek or out in the fields or pasture. Kids have to be given more time to be little kids even if they are doing chores that teach them responsibility and they should be havin’ fun all the while.

I’m just an old “fuddy duddy” I reckon and maybe I just don’t like the way I see our future shaping up for our kids. I want more for them than to grow up frustrated, spoiled, easily disappointed and feeling like failures if they don’t reach the highest expectations that they have always believed they must reach.

Ever wonder why we have “hippies”? Common sense should be a mandatory subject in every middle school all the way into college. Who would we get to teach it? How about Baxter Black or Lee Pitts? I’d go for that, how about you?

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. C. ya.


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