Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



All of My Friends

Saturday, January 24, 2015

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

The work is getting done. Guess who's in charge.
Husby is getting older.
As am I.
He has been at the same organization for over thirty years.
He knows the business inside and out.
Wrote most of its policies.
And conceived and implemented nearly every one of its processes.
Yep. Inside and out.
But in his organization, a new wave of up-and-comers are . . . up and coming.
They’ve not changed any of the policies. Yet.
But they are beginning to tinker with the procedures.
Don’t get me wrong. That’s fine.
There are always new and improved ways to do things. I have no problem with that.
What I do have a problem with is the way they regard my Husby.
Suddenly this man who has been a main cog in the great machine is being regarded as a bit rusty.
Out of date.
Useless.
The fact that he has personally schooled and guided every single one of these young people means nothing once they’ve gotten their momentum.
And they’ve definitely gotten their momentum.
Sigh.
Our story is not unique.
I see it happening all around me. Older people who were once at the forefront of their fields of expertise are being sidelined. Disregarded.
Ignored.
Those who, though they may have fallen a bit behind in the technological side, could still be viewed (and utilized) as a source of wisdom and knowledge.
And experience.
Husby and I were speaking of it this morning. The lack of . . . respect.
Is it something the new generation has not been taught?
All of this is my long-winded way of telling a story.
Which I’m ready to begin. Finally . . .
During its heyday, the Stringam ranch was a hub of activity and a great source of employment.
Cowhands came and went. Learned a little or a lot.
But left better than when they had ridden in.
And a large part of that was due to my Dad’s example.
He led, choosing to work with the men rather than give orders and watch from the sidelines. He counselled. Disciplined. Instructed. Corrected. Instructed again.
And the men respectfully listened.
Oh, there was the occasional man who didn’t like the discipline that the Stringam ranch demanded. But even they learned to show respect during their short stay.
Most of those men went on to lives of industry. Some to direct their own enterprises.
All speak of my Dad with respect and affection.
One man had come to my parents fresh out of high school and had then stayed a number of years under the tutelage of my Dad. In his quiet way, he soaked up everything he could learn.
Then he married and finally left to begin his own ranching enterprise.
The bond of friendship has remained strong.
A few weeks ago, he called my Dad at Dad’s room in the local senior’s lodge. The man, and his son who was now running their family ranch, had a difficulty and needed some advice.
Who did they turn to?
My dad is nearly ninety.
His days of directing the affairs of a large ranch, riding the range and commanding crews of hired men are long behind him.
But the respect for his knowledge and expertise and the genuine affection go on.
Is this being taught today?
Do we look at the elderly people around us (and they are growing in number) and see someone who is merely old? Redundant? Stupid?
Or do we see the person that they were. A person full of life and new ideas. Contender and driving force and world changer of their generation. A person who could still be a fund of knowledge and experience.
A person upon whose shoulders the newest generation is standing.
I hope so.
If not, it’s a great waste.
And a pity.

P.S. About the picture. The guy in charge is the one kneeling on the ground, holding the calf.

16 comments:

  1. They always end up coming back to us Diane. They can't help it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So much here to agree with ... nice that your dad was remembered and asked for input by the younger generation. My dad is my source of advice on car problems and despite the fact that the technology has changed a fair bit - and he has vascular dementia - 99% of the time he is right about what that whine, squeak or vibration is! The younger generation will be old soon enough, and will realize that white hair doesn't mean clueless - quite the opposite most of the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I keep wondering (When our generation were the up-and-comers) if we were disrespectful in any way. I shudder to think . . .

      Delete
  3. I've been in the repair business for over 40 years and it is interesting to see how SOME younger generation are keenly interested in learning what you do and others would rather throw you under the bus because they know it all and you're just a crotchety old grouch (I was a crotchety young grouch once). The latter seems to always get their backside handed to them--by the older generation. In the local tractor club there are some eager younger types in the process of restoring tractors that are older than their grandparents. A good friend of mine, a fellow enthusiast of older things told one of the kids: 'Follow me closely and learn what I teach you; there's going to come the time when they put me in the ground, and all my knowledge and experience goes in there with me.' He's taking the advice and clings to my friend like a leech.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lack of respect for the older generation is a big fault these days. We're seen as old fuddy-duddies who don't know anything if we don't have and/or understand the latest technologies, or talk about the good old days when a person held a job for life, not just a couple of years, then move on.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I will never understand why we push the older generation to the side. They have so much to offer in wisdom and history.
    Great post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Wisdom and history that will be gone all too soon!

      Delete
  6. Young Turks do get impatient for their time in the sun, an feel that they know it all. When really, they don't know Jack. But everyone has to learn, some the hard way. More's the pity that they don't get how much hub has to offer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be so much easier to soak it in while it's still there. Husby still says he wishes he could talk to his dad.

      Delete
  7. It's sad what is being done and I see it all over the place. When someone gets older they don't consider them a resource any longer and it's them who are missing out. It's a shame to watch.

    ReplyDelete
  8. We've turned the new and shiny into a fetish. This is why I love the First Nations concept of the Elder: it's just assumed that the older generation has much to offer, and that they deserve respect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I SO agree! There is so much in that one word, 'Elder'.

      Delete

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