Light your lamp & you light the world – be proud in it!
I am Lawton Proud for so many reasons, and much of why is connected to my beginning and to my journey across the world’s oceans that followed. I frame this discussion by using two examples that have contributed most for which I am proud – growing up on a local area cattle ranch and serving our nation in the U.S. Navy. Please bear with me as I explain.
My Journey on and across Taylor Ranch Road.
Proud of My Up Bringing. Getting to grow up near Lawton on a cattle ranch, that my family started in 1901, makes me feel proud like I was one of the “lucky ones.” I didn’t always know that I wanted to come back home to our operation, but I always knew that it was something very special. My unique upbringing taught me very important values and lessons I couldn’t experience in another lifestyle and I truly believe growing up around agriculture definitely has made me a better person.
Proud of Hard Work.
When you make your living through any sort of farming or ranching, you learn to work HARD and LONG hours early in life. As young people in agriculture, we’re driven to succeed via hard work because the older generations instilled that value in us. Hard work always pays off and the reward makes the long day’s effort worth the struggle.
Proud of Responsibility.
I always had chores to take care of or tagged along while my parents did chores before I was big enough to help out. I knew when things needed to be done and grew up feeding cattle before I fed myself in the mornings. On a ranch, we learn to put others before ourselves and take pride in the fact that our work involves being responsible for other living things. In ranching, we are responsible for the life cycle of an animal, and strive to make sure that while they are in our care, they have the best life possible. Learning to be responsible for something other than yourself is extremely important and this lesson has been a great benefit to me now that I’m older.
Proud of Pride.
I am so proud of the ranch that my father, his father and his father’s father built and it’s an honor to get to be a part of our family ranch as is my daughter with her love for the outdoor life. It’s OK to be proud of what you do for a living and to openly share what you do or why you do it. I’ve never been ashamed of how I was raised and there will never be someone talking poorly about agriculture that brings me down with them. We may not always agree on how to do things or what the proper protocols are, but the health & safety of our families, animals, and the consumer are always at the core of our decision.
Proud of Compassion.
I’ve tended to livestock when they needed extra attention and always try to make sure my cattle are healthy and comfortable. Those experiences have also taught me how to treat the people in my life. When you’re working with livestock, they can’t tell you what’s wrong. You have to study the situation and think about what the issue may be before you act. I think we can apply that same way of thinking to our relationships with people and come out on top every time. Being able to take a step back and figure out why someone’s acting in a certain way before making snap judgments and speaking without thinking is a valuable skill.
Proud of Toughness.
With life comes loss and pain. I’ve lost people that meant the world to me and cattle that I couldn’t save. I’ve always been mentally tough but I believe the ranch has helped me learn to grit my teeth through hard times. The work never stops and the cycles never end; calves keep coming, sales need planning and cows need fed. It’s never been an option for me to take the hit of a loss and let it knock me down because I always have something to look forward to. We’ve seen tough days, months & even years on the ranch, but there’s always something to look towards and the goal of being better than we were to drive us forward.
While everyone’s life experience is different, I know that some of the best people I’ve met are fellow cattlemen and farmers. Whether it was at the Comanche County Fair Grounds in 4H or FFA, my pride runs deep for that which I gained proudly in life skills. I’m proud to have been raised by a hard-working, honest, tough cattleman and I’m thankful for the set of values I’ve developed as a result. My journey continues as a Manager of the Taylor Ranch located near Lawton and where I call my home.
My Journey across the world’s oceans in the United States Navy…
This is another story I will share in the future about my almost 30-year service to our nation in the United States Navy. Being Lawton Proud!
Proud of Sharing My Pride with Others.
I wrap this up by saying I most proud to share all that I have and continue to gain through my life’s experience with others; in business, in mentoring, in coaching, in building and in contributing to the greater good. The greatest lesson I have learned “Take care of and be proud of that which takes care of you!” This is why I am Lawton Proud, proud to be home!