Saturday, January 23, 2010

The joys of youth

I made it home from the Young Cattlemen’s tour this evening, tired but also enthused about our industry’s future. I met so many great young people from all across the northwest and was very impressed with their knowledge and passion for the cattle business. When we started planning for this tour we thought it would be a huge success if we could get 40 participants. I do not know the final number exactly but it was well over 100 people. Thanks to all who participated and if you have any follow up suggestions or questions feel free to email me. Thanks also to all who helped put the tour and workshop together and all the sponsors as well.

As I spent time with these young people I noticed some things about them that were similar to many other young people of today. I also noticed some things that were so much different than many young people today. However when I really focused on specific things I realized that it was more of a case of these young people being the same as all youth but very different in their approach. I am an observer of nature and all living things. Humans are probably the thing I enjoy observing the most mainly because humans are the most amusing living thing to study.

One of the first things I noticed about these kids was their ability to speak well and in an intelligent manner. Sure, some of them seemed a bit shy at first but with some prompting most were very engaging and can speak about themselves and the industry extremely well. You do not get a lot of uhhhh, well dude um I am well duhhh, umm can we get a pizza dude uhhh, mmm do you know what channel MTV is on dude, oh hey man I got a cow sticker on my bicycle. These kids know industry terms and know that learning and hard work is their ticket to a successful future.

When you ask these people what is going on in their life and where they see their future they are like many youth in that they do not exactly know. However, these kids with an agriculture background have goals and a plan to get there. They also have some secondary plans in case life changes their path. This was great to see and made you feel they would likely be successful in life. So many kids today have goals and plans as well but their long range future goal is going to the skate park and arcade with their friends tomorrow. Their plan to achieve that goal is hoping they can borrow some money for bus fare downtown and steal a few quarters from their Dad or younger sister. They just almost scream out “I am a future social program recipient.”

Like many young people today these kids have things that give them individual identity but without being so over the top that it looks ignorant and absurd. With the agriculture kids I noticed a few earrings in both genders and even a nose piercing or two which was different from my generation. I saw a kid last week working in food service that I found just pathetic. This kid was in his late teens and wearing jeans that were sized to fit his ankles apparently. With all the hardware hanging from this young mans face, ears, lips, eyebrows and tongue I had an immediate thought about him. These were not small stud stones but instead grotesque massive items. The kid had one ear lobe that was stretched to the point that the lid to a can of Copenhagen would have been too small to fill it. I don’t know what exactly was hanging from his lip but I am sure that same item with a treble hook would be an awesome Steelhead lure. This kid became my number one suspect for who stole my fishing tackle box last summer.

The last thing I noticed was what probably impressed me the most. These kids were polite to each other and to those around them. They were also respectful to adults and mature in their actions. These kids could socialize in a bar or a tour bus without getting obnoxious, starting fights or puking all over the floor. I noticed that these kids were quick to offer help when they saw it was needed and would open a door for someone and used terms like please and thank you. The flip side of that were two young men I saw entering a business last week. Here they were wearing their sideways caps, saggy pants, super “bling” and hair that had not seen shampoo in so long there was enough grease to lube a Peterbilt truck. As I waited in line behind these two young men at the checkout counter I listened to their conversation. One was showing the other his Satan tattoo and said something to the effect of “dude it might be so cool in hell, it might just be rockin there.” I was just about to say something or test out the usefulness of the shovel in my hand. Then I decided to stay silent as I realized something amusing but scary. These kids would know hell soon enough, when they realize they have no future, no goals and no job skills they would deal with their own personal hell. I am sure glad that there are kids like the ones on the tour that will be able to produce the food to keep these idiots from starving to death.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the American White Pelican aka Pelecanus erythrorhynchos. The picture is of some Pelicans on the home place pond last summer. Remember all pictures can be clicked on to be seen in large size. Enjoy your Sunday.