2011 Ranch Hand Guide: #2. If You Can’t Sing – Dance

"5th Grade Julie." Piano lessons, art, and even home-building was part of her life, or just down the road in the near future (1973-74).

Out here on the ranch there never seems to be enough time.  We are always tending to the animals, building something, or just performing the everyday maintenance that all homeowners have to do.  Somehow, and it’s not always easy, I make time for hobbies that enrich my life.  So rule #2 translates into “find a hobby you are good at and make time for it.”

The Seed

As a kid, I took dance and piano lessons outside of school, but I had an opportunity to explore sewing (the home economics/shop era) and art during school. I actually remember the advertisement for an art school that read “If you can draw this… you may have a future in art.” We had an empty lot across the street from our house, and I watched my mom start a garden there before it sold and a house was built on the land.  I worked summers in the home building industry with my step-dad.  I was exposed to a lot of different activities.  Exposure is important.


Just because we are exposed to different activities doesn’t mean we will have the opportunity to pursue those activities.  For example, it wasn’t until a co-worker introduced me to quilting and my Aunt Sally gave me a sewing machine that I had the opportunity to pursue sewing.   That happened over twenty years ago, and I am still making time for it.  I have found that I can look at something and figure out how to make it, but I have also found some success in designing my own interesting projects.  Now that I live on a ranch, I have my own space for a garden.  I am still learning the basics, but a friend talked me into enrolling in our local Master Gardener class.  What a learning experience!  I have realized that two of my favorite activities were merged in the creation of the Tag Rag, the gardening bandana I made that I wear every day in the summer.

One of my favorite quotes is displayed in my classroom.


I am the luckiest person in the world to have a job that I love; I am a teacher.  I have tried to encourage my students to pursue activities that enrich their lives by exposing them to the ones that enrich mine. For the second year in a row, my students sewed tiny Snuggie-type blankets for a pre-k classroom from the elementary school our middle school adopted for Christmas.   As an added bonus, I got the satisfaction of watching a smiling seventh grade boy take his turn behind a sewing machine.  Do I expect him to put down a football and pick up a needle and thread?  No.  I do think all of my students will remember the great feeling they had while helping other people.  I also believe, if given the opportunity, they will go beyond their comfort levels and explore activities that will enrich their lives as adults.  I hope that once you have found what you love to do, you will share it with others.  Oh, and I’m still dancing…every night for the next six weeks at the “local” arts center…my husband and I are taking line dance lessons.  What a life!

“An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn’t teach them how to make a life.”

— Source Unknown




3 thoughts on “2011 Ranch Hand Guide: #2. If You Can’t Sing – Dance”

  1. Excellent write up! I hope more people understand the need of education to bring more richness to our lives, and I want to emphasize that richness isn’t a monetary term here.

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