Big Boys Don’t Cry . . . A Lesson In Life

Gardening At The RanchFarmington California – Population 210

I’m in 2nd grade, standing on the playground at Farmington Elementary School, minding my own business. Well, maybe I’m not minding my own business, but anyway, James Payton a big 3rd grader proceeds to beat the crap out of me. Whistles blow and here, loping across the playground, comes Mrs. Reid the 3rd grade teacher. Mrs. Reid is the typical vision of a 3rd grade teacher, she has her hair tied up in one of those bun things, is wearing a long, non-descript dress that goes all the way down and covers everything up, and is really old. She has to be at least 40.

She proceeds to pull us apart and then looks down at me and says in adult like fashion: “Now Alan, you know, big boys don’t cry”.

That was the day I learned to cuss. In fact I became very proficient at it, thank you very much.

OK, I get it . . . I get it . . . I get it! Big boys don’t cry. Nope, no cry babies allowed on the playground at Farmington Elementary School.

The lesson that day was crying is not an appropriate way to express your emotions. Crying equals weakness and the last thing a boy, or for sure a man wants to be labeled is weak. But for some strange reason, cussing is seen as an acceptable, and even a manly way of displaying emotions.

So I concluded that from then on, if I’m ever getting the “crap” beat out of me, I won’t cry, but instead proudly assail my opponent with a barrage of cuss words.

Everyone will see me as strong and manly and not notice the blood gushing from my nose.

What Does It Mean To Be Civilized . . .

Alan @ Sedona Chapel webI hadn’t thought much about what it means to be civilized. I sort of took it for granted that I was civilized and living in a civilized culture. Then I stumbled upon the following quote that stopped me in my tracks.

The words that follow brought up more questions than answers. John Lame Deer, a Mineconju-Lakota Sioux born in 1903 on the Rosebud Indian Reservation wrote them. At the age of 14 he was sent to a boarding school, one of many run by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs for Indian youth. These schools were designed to “civilize” the Native Americans after their forced settling on reservations. ~

“Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, 
we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents. 
Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. 

We had no locks nor keys and therefore among us there were no thieves. 
When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, 
he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. 
We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. 

We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being
was not determined by his wealth. 

We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, 
therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. 

We were really in bad shape before the white men arrived and I don’t know
how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things
that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society.”

Please Be Yourself Today . . .


I woke up early this morning and felt . . . well shall I say “out of sorts” somehow. Over the years I am now realizing that often when I “feel” this way, it is because I am attempting to be someone else’s definition of Alan.

So this morning I went for a long walk in the desert and allowed the quietness to wash over me. It was during this walk that I was reminded of the following quote by E.E. Cummings:

“To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight. Never stop fighting!”

Please be yourself today . . . and every new day as well.