The Cowboy Code

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The Cowboy Code “A Code to Live By”

There is much talk today about what’s wrong and what’s right with America. Most of the conversation is directed toward our sluggish economy, our failing job market, and our general weakening position in the world today. But the truth is this – how our nation, America, is doing or not doing is about a lot more than just money – it’s more about who we have become as a people.

Recently Kelly and I were at a local rodeo. There was bare bronc riding, steer roping and wrestling, and, of course, bull riding. You want to talk about a sport that’s rough and dangerous, just watch some of those events live and up close. As we sat there watching, we noticed a number of things worth noting here.

First, before anything else happened, before any event began, we all stood and honored our American flag. Hats off, kids standing still and respectful, eyes focused on the flag.

Second, we prayed – yeah, we prayed – for the competing cowboys and cowgirls to be safe, to compete hard and fairly, and we prayed for our nation, America.

Then, the action began. As the young boys took their tries on those 2-ton bulls, most were thrown off before they even made their required 8 seconds to score. But there were a few who did stay on until the end, made the full ride, got their score. Very impressive, but what impressed us most was not just their athletic ability, but their attitude. When they did do well, they didn’t stand there beating on their chests, pointing at themselves, shaking, and wagging their heads. They got up, got their gear, and exited the arena. There was no bragging, no prideful swagger, nothing. Oh maybe, a kneel to pray, or a finger pointing to heaven – but nothing else. When we left that rodeo, we were so impressed.

When I was a kid growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in Texas, I remember there being not so much talk about social position or the gathering of assets. No, I remember the conversations being more about issues of character and conduct and setting a code of ethics to live by. And one of the great sources of ethics for a young boy growing up was what came to be known as the “Cowboy Code”. One of the great TV/movie cowboys of that day was Roy Rogers, “King of the Cowboys”, and he gave us kids a code to live by – what he called his “Cowboy Riders Rules”. Here’s a few –

  • Always tell the truth;
  • never betray a trust;
  • never go back on your word;
  • when someone is in trouble, help them; always protect the weak;
  • work hard; don’t be lazy;
  • obey the law;
  • respect your parents;
  • honor our flag;
  • here’s one – love God.

My point? What has happened to us? How did we let our attitudes get so far off track? Where did we get this, “It’s all about me”, prideful, arrogant attitude? I’ll tell you what I believe. I believe that the great hardships we are seeing today in America as a nation are the reaping part of the sowing we’ve been doing for quite some time – and now it has caught up with us.  The Bible says it quite clearly, “Pride going before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”.

What should be our goal, what should we be striving and seeking for our nation this year? We need a code of ethics and morals, of code of behavior and conduct – a code to live by –

The Cowboy Code.

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