Influence of Families

On rare occasions, our kids get to stay with their cousins on the ranch when Brian and I need to be out of town. After our last trip to Rexburg, Idaho, I came away with such an appreciation for the good influence aunts and uncles can have on a child’s life.

For one, aunts and uncles can get your kids to do things they wouldn’t necessarily do at home. Although it was a lot of work for my brother, the kid weren’t about to tell him “no” after he caught all the horses, saddled them up and was ready to take them all riding to move cows.

My kids have a healthy fear of moving the cows when I’m not there. They don’t always want to do it, unless their uncle asks them to. He helps instill confidence and teaches life lessons when things are hard. Since he’s had more horse wrecks than anyone in my family, he’s the perfect guy to help them face their fears.


In addition, cousins often introduce kids to hobbies that parents don’t make time to do. My son, Cash, is clearly bound and determined to be a hunter and trapper someday. When he was three years old, I remember turning around in my seat and seeing him in his car seat holding out his hands and saying, “One day, these hands are going to hold a real gun.” It’s a dream that is coming closer to reality, thanks to his cousin, Cannon Hawkes. Cannon will take Cash to sit in his blind or to check his traps and Cash has the time of his life.


The day we flew from Hamilton to the ranch in Leadore to pick up the kids, I saw from the skies, my mom’s Econoline van down below and all the cousins piling out to meet us. Including my three, she was wrangling 10 grandkids between the ages of 2 and 12. I knew they’d had a great time and even more – I knew they were more accomplished, more brave and had more experiences to deepen their character while we were gone. Credit goes to a caring extended family.