Teach Your Kids To Fish (Down the Line, Stran Smith)

 Stran Smith Down the Line

The other day Jennifer posted a photo on our STS Ranch Wear Facebook of Stone holding a calf’s legs while we were branding. On the photo was this saying: “Don’t handicap your kids by making their life easy.” That one post was viewed over 100,000 times and shared 25,000 times.

I don’t think for a minute it’s easy to raise kids today. You can keep your kids safe enough for them to reach adulthood, but are we teaching them good life lessons? The saying goes, ‘Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’

It’s far easier, and quicker, to do something for your kid than to let him do it himself. I’m guilty of this myself. It’s a real challenge to slow down and let your child do something himself. No, he won’t be as quick, or do it as well as you would. That’s not the point. If you don’t give him the opportunity to do a chore or complete a job or task he’s been given, you’re robbing him of the opportunity to be proud of himself.

With technology today, almost every kid you see is playing on a phone, ipad, or some other electronic device. It’s fun for them and can entertainment them for hours. Some of those hours would be time better spent learning some responsibility or spending time with family.

We want so much for our children that we tend to hand them nice things without teaching them the value or making them earn it. Do you think a 13-year old that’s riding a $5,000 to $10,000 horse really understands what a nice horse he has? Not likely.

I can’t even imagine trying to raise kids in the city. Folks in the country or on ranches have better opportunities to teach their kids how to earn the things they want.

I’ve mostly been home for the last couple of years and I’ve enjoyed spending that time with my family. Raising kids is challenging these days and you have to have a game plan. You can’t do anything successfully without one. It’s easier at home to let my boys do things for themselves. My dad was really good at letting me figure things out. It’s hard to believe I was driving a tractor when I was Stone’s age.

Since we’ve been rodeoing this summer I find it way too easy to ‘hand my kids a fish’ rather than letting them fish. The nature of rodeo is to hurry from one to the next and time is a luxury we don’t always have.

No matter where you live, or what you do for a living, today you have to compete for your children’s attention. This generation that’s raising kids now has a big challenge. We have to teach them the value of a dollar. We have to teach them how to work for what they want. We have to let them learn how to do things, and sometimes fail, rather than do it for them.

As an adult, your child will be more likely to thank you for teaching the value of hard work than for letting him lay in front of the television.

Till next time, God Bless, and I’ll see you down the line.

 


  • Melody Berend

    Very well said Stran. Thank you!

  • Darryl Chestnut

    Excellent Stran.

  • LisaBarnhurst Woodland

    Thanks for that message Stran I was struggling with the fact that most of my friends and acquaintances work and if they aren’t working they are attending college so they can work. I felt like I had been kicked right in the gut when my friend announced she was joining the college scene. After much prayer and thought I decided I would stand alone because even though I may not have an amazing career, or money for all the fun. I am raising kids who I hope will learn the skills from me to survive and make a difference in this world. Today your message was an answer to my prayer that I am making the right choice for my children. Thanks for answering my prayers and giving my the courage to do what I know is right.

  • Marianne

    Well stated, we make our way through life with life lessons and an education wether it be from a college or beyond, or life lessons learned as you get along in life. It is said that you will go far with an extra amount of education, that being said, will you be happy and do your best, or put your best efforts int o your endevors because you are doing something to please others, for some reason there is not the same amout of satisfation of doing a job well for someone else or for your self.
    I appreciate the family I raised and the family I was born to I am Thankful to them all and also to those who have chosen to call me friend.
    You can suck lemons or you can squeeze them for all they are worth and make the best lemonade ever, no matter what it is our duty to leave this big blue ball just a little better than we found it.

  • Ron NELSON

    Very honest and true Stran, we gotta kick back and slow the pace down, remember the story of teaching a man to fish rather than giving him a basket of fish. Same with the kids it seems so easy these days to give them a can of worms for life rather than slowing down and teach them what life is all about.

  • Jay W

    Stran, it is so true that we need to teach or youth in the critical thinking skills and the can do attitude. Where I am is in a small rural community in a small rural school district. We have several farm and ranch families with a faculty that is full of farm and ranch raised teachers and staff. We rely on the basis that work ethic and morals give you a bucket full of characteristics that are necessary to survive and thrive in our society. It is refreshing to read and understand the gratitude that hard work and problem solving has taught all of us in life. We try to instill this in our students and families in our community. Thank you for your leadership in reminding that it is worth the effort to do somethings right by letting us be on our own and stand for what is best for us in the long run. May God bless us all. Love and Light through God.