I grew up in a rural town West of Houston known as Bellville. With a population of less than 3500 people, it was your typical American small town and football frenzied Texas community. I actually grew up on the outskirts of town on a swath of land that has been in my family’s name for generations. Between my grandmother, two uncles and my family, we had access to around 300 acres beautiful, Brazos Valley land.
- Work Ethic
Having access to over 300 acres of land, in which roughly 50-60 acres was owned my immediate family, there is always work to be done. My blood, sweat and tears are spread across all 300 of those acres. My dad instilled in my brother and I a work ethic prided on doing it right the first time, work until the job is finished and ensuring the property is well maintained and taken care of. I spent my summers and weekends mowing, trimming, building and mending fences, cleaning out the shop, general maintenance to our equipment and a plethora of other jobs. I would also do the same type of labor for my uncle, among a whole host of other projects such as planting trees from his tree farm, repairing barns and tearing down old structures. Through all the hard times and hot summers, I am thankful for the opportunities I endured during my youth. I learned how to do a number of projects that most kids will never do or understand. Football also played an important part into my work ethic formation. Growing up in small town Texas, football is and always will be everything to the town. I love the game of football and those two a day practices during August in the Texas heat were brutal, but I came away year in and year out ahead of the pack due to my work ethic. My takeaway from football was to work hard, practice hard and play hard because winning isn’t easy and football won’t last forever. The work ethic I learned as a child is still alive and well with me today and I pray I will be able to afford a similar lifestyle for my future children.
Walking outside the front door and staring at a couple hundred acres is amazing. We had neighbors of course, but none close enough to be able see exactly what we were doing outside. I would always say as long as I can walk out my front door and pee without problems, I would be free. Included in the land my family owned, we had access to several hundred more acres worth of properties from the neighbors. Whether it was riding ATV’s, fishing or exploring, there was always something to do and somewhere to go. Riding ATV’s is a family past time I have done since I could walk. We would be gone for hours at a time exploring the area and creating new trails to ride on. Where most people see a jungle, I see a path. We would go for long walks through the woods and creeks just to explore and find places of interest or swimming holes. Growing up in the country with limited access to typical American entertainment, we had to use what was available to provide entertainment. I look back now and realize the freedom I grew up with to explore, challenge myself and engage my mind and body creatively.
3. Respect/Interest for the Environment
The environment that we live in provides us life. We should care for it and respect it. Do not get me wrong as I am no tree hugger or PETA supporter, but I care for what the environment provides for my family and I. In my early years, my grandparents raised cattle and farmed. I don’t remember much except helping out and enjoying the atmosphere it provided. The time I spent laboring on the property taking care of it created a sense of respect and pride for the land as well. Having access to all it made me find a true value for it. I find it heart breaking the larger and larger the urban sprawl grows. Streams and fields that once were are now being turned into shopping malls and neighborhoods. Growth is good, but at what cost? Litter and all the trash people disregard is upsetting, showing no responsibility for their own actions. They do not value the land for what it is worth. I appreciate farming and ranching and support those families who provide for the rest of the world. Inhumane treatment of animals for food consumption is simply wrong and disgusting. Herding chicken and cattle into tiny pens/cages and pumping them full of steroids is no way to treat an animal I would eat. Commercial farming has created more problems than it has solved. The government makes it increasingly difficult to farm and ranch in this country. Why would we create a culture where less and less people are farming and ranching? Do we not need to have a food supply? My thoughts on the environment are all interconnected. As cities grow and sprawl, the population increases and the paradigm shift from rural living to urbanization continues, less emphasis is being placed on the environment and what it offers.