Me and Scout

Me and Scout

30 September 2010

14 May 2010

I quit my job yesterday.  That is, I started quitting my job yesterday and am still quitting today.  It can be confusing in a world where there are multiple bosses.  I work (for the next month or so) as an instructor for military science at an intermediate school in League City, TX.  It’s kind of like a junior Junior ROTC.  I won’t go into a lot of detail because it won’t matter much this summer, but a little background might help.
Our family has been in the ranching business in some capacity for 130 years.  It’s never been our sole income, but it’s been a big part of life.  Typically, the patriarch and ranch manager had moved out to the ranch upon retirement, his son and other descendants making regular weekend visits to do the cow work, fence repair, and anything else that is needed.  Things rocked along like this for several generations, but I loved it so much that I decided that I wanted to make a career out of it.  I was also interested in the military, so Texas A&M seemed like the right place to go.  In 1994, I graduated with a degree in Agricultural Economics, Farm and Ranch Management option.  I did not take a military commission at that time.
1994 was not a good year for ranching.  Texas was in the middle of a drought and cattle prices were way down.  Instead, I took a job as a loan officer for Production Credit Association of Farm Credit.  I learned a lot watching and loaning money to other ranchers.  What worked and what did not work.  That job eventually led me to Winnie, TX, which was in striking distance of the ranch.  I lived in the mobile home my Dad and his wife put on the ranch for the weekends, hoping to use my spare time to work the ranch.  I did some, but it still didn’t take off and I was still young.  Eventually, I got bored with my job and moved to College Station to work with an agricultural research and analysis firm.  That was interesting work, but not profitable and I got laid off along with most of the rest of the company.  That led me to another career change.
Dad had been working in Houston for the space program since the 1970’s and he knew that they were hiring people so I got on at entry level working in the Crew Office supporting the shuttle avionics upgrade.  At that time I was a little lost.  I was a wannabe rancher working in the space program thinking about going back to school for an engineering degree so I could be a flight controller.  One calculus class cured that idea.
Management!  Leadership!  That’s the opportunity that I was missing.  I couldn’t get it at NASA without a technical degree so I got a commission in the Army Reserves after 9/11 based largely on the fact that I had had two years of Naval ROTC and four years of the Cadet Corps at A&M.  Naturally, it didn’t take long after my Officer Basic Course for me to get deployed.
Now the wannabe rancher was leading and driving in supply convoys almost every day.  Fine.  I can use my leadership experience here to get a good management job back at NASA.  Still didn’t happen.  So, I decided to leave the space program.
I heard about an opportunity of teaching Leadership Development Corps at the intermediate school.  I would be the boss.  I would lead and train young kids.  I would get to play ball with them and show them how to march.  That is where I am today.
I have a campus with around 90 kids.  I have 5 classes including a class of leaders who plan events for everyone else.  I also have a conference period and I cover the In School Suspension during lunch.  On top of this, there are team practices after school every day.  The program has been so successful in the district that they decided to split me to do two campuses next year.  Twice the booster club meetings, twice the number of practices, half again as many cadets, and at least an extra two hours a day with a pittance for an increase in pay.  That was it.  That is what it finally took to remind me what my goal had been 20 years ago.
My wife is great.  We met shortly after I started teaching (that whole story is a blog in and of itself).  It took her some time to get used to the idea of living in the country.  She had thought about living in the country some as a child, but got away from it like me.  Since then, we have both been brought back to it.  I say brought to it very literally.  Being committed believers we know that God has a purpose for us.  We know that God puts in us the desires of our hearts.  We know that God directs our lives.  Finally, He has directed us back to our vision.  We have felt Him speaking to our hearts and He has also confirmed it through little signs here and there.  Two Bible stories that apply kept popping up.  One was the story of Joshua and Caleb scouting out the land and not being afraid of the giants that inhabited it.  The other was God calling Abram to leave Ur and all of its comforts for an unknown future.  So, after much prayerful consideration, I quit my job.

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