Self-Control and Cows

By Catherine Finch

“For God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

Skyler* starts his day at 5:30 a.m. Once he wakes up, he heads straight over to feed the cows and give medicine to those that need it. By 8 a.m., Skyler has completed his schoolwork for the day, spent time reading the Bible and eaten breakfast. After he finishes up his morning routine at the cottage, Skyler goes back to the barn to bring in the calves, tether them, blow them out, condition them, let them stand for about an hour and then wash them. Skyler is busy with the calves until noon.

After lunch, Skyler joins the rest of the campus in the gym for Bible study, then he is back in the barn cleaning, taking care of the animals and starting the process of tending to the calves again. By 8:00 p.m. Skyler has had dinner, cottage time, done his chores and gone back to the barn for one last check on the animals. Skyler ends his day in bed and asleep by 9:30 p.m.

For Skyler, this 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily routine at Boys Ranch Town (BRT) is a benefit and joy of living on the campus. Located on a 145-acre ranch outside of Edmond, BRT is a child-focused campus where up to eight boys are placed in a cottage-style home, under the supervision of a husband and wife serving as houseparents. The boys enjoy day-to-day life together; they eat meals, participate in campus activities and programs, and do chores and homework. They attend Edmond Public Schools or participate in on-campus education and are encouraged to participate in a variety of school, church and campus activities/programs. BRT offers many activities including 4-H, animal programs, sports, crafts, trail rides, campouts, rodeos, auto mechanics and a welding program. These programs teach boys responsibility, patience and compassion.

Skyler has lived at BRT for three-and-a-half years. Before coming to BRT, Skyler had little-to-no experience with cows. Skyler has help taking care of the calves, but most days he is the last one in the barn with the animals. He said his favorite thing about working with cows is that it has taught him more than how to work with cows and calves.

“I’ve learned how to control myself,” said Skyler. “If there’s a really stressful situation with one of the cows going on you can’t let your stress get ahold of you. If you let your stress control you, you can end up hurting the cow or yourself.”

Because Skyler is so involved in the daily routine of taking care of the cows, he has had to be really disciplined in his schoolwork. Skyler does online school on campus through Edmond Public Schools. He has a set number of assignments due each day, but he can get a week ahead if he completes the daily assignments early. Because Skyler wants to be able to spend his time with the cows during the week, he will use the weekend to get ahead in his schoolwork and double-up on other days.

“Before I lived at BRT, my schooling was a lot less structured,” said Skyler. “I mainly went to school so I could avoid truancy tickets. I never did any work. But now I am motivated to get good grades and get my work done.”

While Skyler has loved working the cows, he says his favorite thing he has learned at BRT is how to share the Gospel. He became a follower of Christ during his time at BRT, and he notes that his relationship with Jesus impacted the way he acted towards others and even the cows.

“The Biblical knowledge I’ve received here from Mr. Mosely, my housedad, and Bo Blakey, the campus director, has made such an impact on me,” said Skyler. “They have inspired me to share the Gospel and become more like Christ in how I show self-control to others and the cows.”

*Name changed to protect their privacy.

Read more about Boys Ranch Town.