1 Wrapped Gift & 4 Children. This Could be a Problem!


The Christmas countdown is upon us.  The tree is up, but there seems to be a scarcity of presents underneath it.  I believe it is a direct correlation between our annual land payment and real estate taxes both being due in December mere weeks before the Holy holiday.  There’s also the matter of not enough time to “do it all” clouding the vision of our world today.

All this hustle and bustle leads to the fact that I have one gift wrapped and ready to take it’s rightful place under the majestic pine dominating our living room.  While that’s good, it may not be enough.  God willing, all 4 of my offspring will be gathered with me sipping coffee and delving into the stockings filled by Old Saint Nick on Christmas morning.  If other packages don’t magically appear proudly encased in bight paper and fancy ribbons, there will be 3 puzzled faces looking at me and sending curious glances at their recipient sibling.

I have gifts for the others.  They are not the same, but they are closely equal in value, and picked specifically for each of my loved ones.  Those boxes are currently hidden in my bedroom.  “Old habits die hard”.  Those presents could be hidden in plain sight, as the oldest lives in his home here on the ranch and the other 3 are are away at college, but they will remain safely tucked away and out of sight until layered with wrapping paper.  Those gifts would be well loved, if for some reason they never made it to the tree and the children found them later, but the Christmas magic would be missing.

The 3 that would have to search the house for their gifts to discover them later and unwrapped might experience a bit of confusion as to which gift was meant for them and even if they had found all that they were to receive.  It might give those three the feeling that they were loved less that the child receiving the timely wrapped gift because I had devoted time to prepare for one of them, but not all of them.  Granted each would receive a gift, but they might seem a bit less special than the one of prominence under the tree.

It is the same theory when we turn our thoughts towards succession plans.  One of my children has graduated and come back to the ranch.  The other 3 love our family ranch, but do not share his passion for the land and cattle and are headed towards other careers.  While their chosen occupations may not include daily routines of chopping ice, tagging calves, fixing fence, and all the other glamorous tasks ranching includes, they would like to see the family tradition continue.  It’s rather clear cut for the son that wishes to remain on the operation, but what are the roles of the other partners that may be absent for weeks or months at a time?

That will be a topic of discussion at our kitchen table when the whole family is home over Christmas Break.  I’ve been working on plans for the son following in my footsteps and meticulously making sure his chosen path is clear for him to follow.  In essence, he can see his wrapped gift under the tree.  If I do not put the same care into developing plans for those not intent on returning to the ranch, I’m giving them gifts, but they may not find them and there may be confusion as to whom each one belongs.  It’s my duty and privilendge to ask questions and develop strategies tailor made for the other 3 children and then memorialize those plans.  I need to get those 3 gifts wrapped soon!

Those are my thoughts about Our Ranch, Our Family, and My World tonight.

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