Tough life makes tougher men –
After spending some time in the beautiful Wyoming this August, it made me consider how hard life had been for the settlers and inhabitants prior to heating, electricity, running water and many of the comforts of today. Wyoming is gorgeous during the summer months but their winters can reach temperatures of 40 below! Imagine being a fur trader in the 1800s, having to travel by horse to another state in such harsh conditions. Every outside experience in winter months could have meant death, and for many it did. In the winters of 1885-1887 86% of the Montana/Dakota cattle was said to have died. As sad as it was, it produced a much more resilient man back then who could tolerate a great deal of discomfort. While life is very different now we can still learn from the amount of responsibility and grit that was expected in those days. At 12 years old you were expected to contribute to your household by tending cattle or growing vegetables along with your regular chores. As a business owner I have been shocked to meet 20 year olds who couldn’t sweep a floor. Even worse I’ve met highschool kids who didn’t know what you used to sweep or mop a floor. No joke!
During my stay I also encountered one of the smartest and most well trained dogs I’ve ever met, who accompanied us anytime we were outdoors. Upon talking to the owners of the dog, they explained to me that in order to train the dog, they themselves had to first be trained. Otherwise they would teach the dog bad habits that would ultimately lead to laziness rather than the understanding that good behavior is rewarded. There’s a saying “spare the rod, spoil the child”. So too, can we be spared from the harsh realities of life by the comfort of wealth and society that we forget who we were in an animalistic way that was necessary for survival. While life is different now, the mental fortitude needed then to simply survive a Wyoming winter as a cowboy can undoubtedly translate into handling greater responsibility and struggle nowadays.