Thursday, February 21, 2013

Speak Slowly and Carry a Big Stick

The weather outside is extra sunny today and it feels like it should already be spring. Like many producers we always brand in the spring so sorting cows and calves is something we have to be prepared for. Lacking height, it has always been important to me to be like Teddy Roosevelt and "carry a big stick" or a hotshot or a paddle. Once I have one of these in my hand I feel pretty unstoppable. So what if you weigh 20 times  more than me old cow, I have a stick and I know how to use it! Whenever a cow tries to back into a hole she isn't supposed to, a gentle prod in the behind really shows her who is boss. As you can imagine though there have definitely been times when the ol' hot shot or stick in the hand theory really has backfired. There is one time in particular I can remember, my sister had an extra nasty bull who liked to give us trouble. He started swinging his head at me but, I had a stick, so there was nothing to fear. Before I knew it I was not just over the fence but across the pen and up on the next fence. So, maybe I still do get scared a little bit but if you saw that rank thing's bright red eyes and snotty nose, you would have high tailed it outta there too!
I've noticed that there are days that my attitude gets out of hand. I get to thinking that my opinion is right and it's like I have a stick to swing around at the people in my life. I start to wag my tongue and tell people exactly what I think. This is just like agitating bulls though. Just because I have an agenda doesn't mean that my opinion is right or that what I have to say really should be said. Sometimes the poking and prodding that we do festers a wound much more than healing it and often times these erect walls and push people right out of our lives. It is times like these when I remember that Teddy Roosevelt's saying actually had two parts: "Speak slowly and carry a big stick." I like to think of it as "be slow to speak." I make it a goal to really evaluate the things that I am going to say and to be slow to wrath like the Bible tells us to.
In our world full of media that lets us lash out to people without thinking, because we're not actually seeing them face to face, I think that we need to realize it is as simple as sorting cows. Use your words when it is useful to others and when it will guard you from being hurt but only use them when it is constructive. Be willing to build each other up because there is a whole world waiting to tear us down.

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