Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Sunday, September 16, 2018

Respect

The work is getting done. Guess who's in charge.
Husby is retired now.
As am I.
He had been at the same organization for over thirty years.
He knew 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 were . . . up and coming.
They’d not changed any of the policies. Yet.
But they were 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 was the way they regarded my Husby.
Suddenly this man who has been a main cog in the great machine was being regarded as a bit rusty.
Out of date.
Useless.
The fact that he had personally schooled and guided every single one of these young people meant nothing once they’d gotten their momentum.
And they’d 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 one 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 the men went on to lives of industry. Some to direct their own enterprises.
All spoke of my Dad with respect and affection.
One man came 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 remained strong.
One day, 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 was nearly ninety.
His days of directing the affairs of a large ranch, riding the range and commanding crews of hired men were long behind him.
But the respect for his knowledge and expertise and the genuine affection went 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 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.

Sundays are for my Ancestors. Okay, yes it was about my dad again.
What did your ancestors do? I’d love to hear!

4 comments:

  1. We are now looked upon as the 'disposable' generation.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sadly true. Though I suspect that many generations before us have said the same.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There are a lot of people turned out to pasture who are not ready to do that. Some call it progress while others call it stupidity. A person should still be allowed to decide when he's ready to retire...

    ReplyDelete
  4. We have noticed this trend too. It doesn't sit well with us. Not all but many younger folks in the work force seem to discount experience and knowledge of those closer to retirement, whereas when we were starting out, we welcomed guidance and mentors, and learned a good deal that way. I'm sorry your Husby has had that experience also.

    ReplyDelete

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