Friday, May 27, 2011

We're Not Raising Grass

My grandson recently ordered and received a shipment of chickens to raise. Watching them learn to survive less than 24 hours after kicking their way out of the egg is pretty amazing. We improve their chances for success by making feed and water available but they have the intuition necessary to find it and begin to eat and drink. They are aggressive right out of the box, and have an instinct that makes their success almost guaranteed. Humans aren't that way. We need help.
This point between Mother's Day and Father's Day is a good time to remember those present and past who have helped to mold us into the people we are today. In our sometimes convoluted world of the modern family, the parenting roles being played can be peculiar at best but the results seem to work out okay, as long as every kid has a fully engaged family of some kind.
If you fly at passenger jet altitude for a couple of hours across our heartland and gaze upon the farmland below, you are soon filled with awe of the vastness of this country and the fact that for every little city and town and village below, there are families trying very hard to do the right thing by their kids and to carry on the tradition that their parents and grandparents started before them.
The fact that kids don't come with an operators manual (Marilyn would tell me that men wouldn't read it if they did), together with the reality that Mom and Dad come from different family histories, cements my theory that the family is the very fabric that holds this country and more especially rural America and rural communities together.
That's why most of the strong families stay strong. It was the way they were brought up. Mom and Dad or a parent and an aunt or uncle or grandparent became very involved in a child's life to ensure that the "instincts" of God, and family, and hard work were implanted into the next generation.
Chances are you had someone involved in your welfare as a child or you couldn't be reading this. You were educated. You were the most important thing going on in someone's life at one time. I recall the remembrance of Harmon Killebrew, Hall of Fame slugger for the Minnesota Twins, when he explained that his dad had taken him and his brother into their yard to play baseball and his mom came to the door to scold his dad, "You guys are tearing up the yard by playing baseball out there all the time." Killebrew's dad replied, "We're not raising grass, we're raising boys."
It's exactly that kind of thinking that has made rural America great. Every community has their share of solid families, setting an example for all to follow. The example is being set by the moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas and schools and youth program coaches, and scouting programs and pastors and servicemen past and present and the list goes on forever.
That's why this time of year is so important when we honor mothers and fathers on their special days and sometimes on Memorial Day if they've already left us. We also take the time to hold up our fallen soldiers who are responsible for our freedom. They for sure understood community as it relates to family. They served, some died, but all of them longed to return home to add to the family and community and to continue to set an example.
Our fabric needs continual care, everyone's experiences need to be intertwined to make the fabric strong. It's appropriate that we should pause and celebrate and honor our parents, our soldiers, our graduates and get the family together for an occasional picnic. It keeps the threads of our fabric tightly woven. We're not raising grass


Paul Nichols said...

Great stuff!
Cliff, I once had a casual friend who wouldn't buy a swing set for his boys because he didn't want them messing up the grass. (Boys' ages 4 and 2 at the time.) I told him that same Killebrew story. Time passed, we went our ways. Several--I mean, SEVERAL--years later he looked us up and called me to thank me for saying that. He told me he went out and bought them a jungle gym with "the works." He said they grew up to be real good sons and real good students in HS and College.

And the grass grew back.

So keep telling that story, Cliff. You're gonna touch somebody.

Granny Annie said...

This is a great post Cliff. It makes me think of two things my son said to me in the past. First he was angry with me because he had refused to go along with something the other kids were doing. He had missed the "fun" because I had cursed him with a conscience. Then when he was suddenly a single parent of a 5 year old, a three year old and an eight month old, he knew he could do it because I had taught him "parenting". Not mothering or fathering, but "parenting". It is all about partnering with God in raising our families no matter our individual circumstances.

Rachel said...

Hi Cliff! Great post! You are a wise man and a good writer. I hope you and your family are having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Say Hi to Marilyn!

Ralph said...

Well, like I said before - how you can take so many unrelated events tie them all together and then make such great point is a gift. I'm in awe. Well done, very well done.

EV said...

Amen! Good one, Cliff.

Lanny said...

Excellent, excellent, excellent!

Jim said...

Very nice thoughts, Cliff! I do hate to kill the grass with a plastic swimming pool but you make sense! Guess I will tend more to the grandkids and less to the grass. Thank you.

I hope and pray that your home won't be inundated with the Missouri.

It was nice to have our brief chat last Saturday. The reunion went great! We are in Iowa now visiting Lois.

Marty Morrow said...

after raising 3 boys, no grass left. suppose south 40 is under water. We'll send a canoe.

Anonymous said...

I think u remember my real life name but in case not, above post is from "gel."

Gette said...

Very nice. Hope you and yours are dry and safe down there. I hear it's been a struggle in the Sioux City neighborhood.

LZ Blogger said...

Cliff ~ I hope that all is well with you guys? I am a little concerned by the path of Big MO! How big is a cubit anyway? ~ j///b

Peter said...

Well said, as usual, Cliff, if more people lived by the rule "we're not raising grass" there would be less problems in the world.