“Keep well informed of the condition of your flocks and pay attention to your herds”.
I am finding this discussion of ancient boundaries going deep and wide. The more thought I give it , the more I notice the value of the many facets of these taken-for-granted, often ignored principles. Like many things we presume upon, their value is not fully appreciated until they erode, are dismantled or fail. In the case of finances, for those who were raised to manage money wisely, they may not realize how much that wisdom is worth until they allow those principles to slip. For those who may not have had the benefit of basic money management training, they may wonder why cash is always departing instead of accumulating.
Like many things, it is not that mysterious once you know what to do. For many, flying a plane is mysterious and elusive. I can attest from my own experience of becoming a pilot, that with some information, training and perseverance (and of course a bit of cash), flying is no longer mysterious. It is fun, exhilarating and very cool, even magical, but not mysterious. So it is with being wise with money. Good information, basic math skills, a plan. combined with perseverance, and the money thing looses its mystery. Money becomes a true blessing and friend. It is no longer that illusive thing we chase because we need it and actually behaves! What is the key? A boundary. For this case, a budget.
Proverbs tells us to know the condition or state of our flocks and herds. In agriculture, flocks, herds and crops of any kind, represent money, wealth and provision. Those who are close to the land know how important it is to “keep well-informed” of these assets. What exactly does that involve? To put it simply, it involves:
Knowing the number, quality and quantity of the herd or crop in your possession,
Protecting them with appropriate shelter, fences and/or guardians
Nurturing and watering them
The budgeting process contains the same elements;
Having an accurate accounting of one’s assets: Cash, property and investments
Protecting these assets by stewarding them well, meaning appropriate bank and investment accounts as well as a good financial advisor.
Nurturing them by maintaining and replenishing regularly which means at least balancing the checkbook!
Boundaries. “A good neighbor is a fellow who smiles at you over the back fence, but doesn’t climb over it.” Arthur Baer
In order to have a structurally sound Stonebridge, there must be boundaries. Actually a well constructed bridge serves just that purpose: to be a boundary from the pitfalls below and to the sides of the path you are on. I introduced a discussion on boundaries in Boundary Lines and Ancient Landmarks proposing boundaries that should not be messed with and others that should. One of the boundary areas I introduced was physical or geographical boundaries. It seems a safe, straight forward subject to tackle, but I sense a rant coming on, so stand-by. First, a bit of history and cultural context to get us going.
The idea of geographical boundaries in history goes to the heart of land and property ownership. This is a subject as long as the history of the earth and point of views range from “no one really owns land” to “I can do whatever I wish with what I own”. Who can and cannot own land, or any property for that matter, also widely varies. Since I am an American, which is a common law based system, most of what I have to say will rest in that camp.
In reality, the idea of owning property is biblical and our laws for ownership are rooted from that source. It is simple, if a piece of property is for sale, you buy it, you get a title-deed or receipt, you own the property. It is yours to live on, cultivate, build on, put a fence up around it, use it and protect it. You have a right as to who can come onto or use your property and who cannot. It is yours.
This holds true for other kinds of property such as clothing, vehicles and other stuff one purchases. Animals fall into this as well, but as living things, hold a higher place in the order of ownership . The bottom line is when you purchase an item, you own it. For another to take, use, touch or “borrow” any item not purchased by them is stealing. Stepping onto private property without permission or invitation is trespassing. Both are violations of a boundary. Period.
As a result, there are laws that support boundaries. We seem to have lost sight of this. There was a time when I could leave my bicycle, or any other piece of property, in my front yard with no fence and it would still be there the next day. Cars were not locked and keys (gasp) were left in the ignition . Doors were not locked nor were gates in fences, which were more for decoration or to keep four-legged creatures in or out as appropriate, than to prevent trespassing.
Now, I will say that as kids we did wander into other’s yards to play hide and seek. There seemed to be implicit permission for such things, however, it was closely guarded and monitored by parents so as not to be abused. There were limits, although I could not tell you what they were exactly. We just knew. I think it had to do more with intent and respect. While engaged in play, we were not coveting anything, just, well, playing. Continue reading Boundaries, Land Rights and Ownership→
We are cat people. I was not always a cat person. Oh, I had pets growing up but they were always outside pets, mostly dogs, and the attachment fell far short of what I know today. I suspect that had to do with several things: We were a farming community and my mother was raised on a farm; Animals served a practical role and were somewhat transitory so we were not encouraged to get too attached; If I had any real attachment to animals growing up it was to horses on my grand parents farm and to the iconic TV animals like Flicka, Lassie and Trigger. I out-grew all that when boys became more than someone to just climb trees with, but that is another subject.
I became a cat person when I married. My husband is a true cat whisperer and could give Jackson Galaxy some serious competition. He has an amazing way of bringing out the unique personality of any cat, of restoring cats who are damaged and to actually get them to mind! Well, mind in that “I’m a cat” sort of way. We have a lot of fun with our kitty tribe. No, we are not crazy cat people, but I have learned to truly love, appreciate and even train these furry soul-mates.
The oldest of our tribe right now is Flaps. Yes, Flaps, like the control surface on an airplane. He is the fo
urth in a series of aviation named cats. The first three were Pitch, Roll, and Yaw. There were also Stick and Rudder. These are gone now, but Flaps, now four-teen years old, remains. We started the series when we acquired an airplane hangar with an apartment. The cat’s job, besides keeping us company and entertained, were to keep rodents under control in the hangar. Rodents can be very damaging to aircraft and this was our way of dealing with them. Our version of barn cats, I guess.
“Do not remove the ancient boundary which your fathers have set.” Proverbs 22:28 NKJV
I just finished reading the book “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend. I have heard this book referred to on the two good doctors radio show and on the Dave Ramsey show. First published in 1992, I finally checked out a copy from our local library. It is not my intention to do a review of the book, however, I do recommend that you add it to your reading list. It has got me to thinking a lot about boundary lines in general and how they apply to this whole Stonebridge defining, identifying, building concept. It may take more than one post to deal with this, but here is an introduction to this idea.
In some ways it relates to the margins idea I wrote about in The Value of Margins – A Lesson From Ladders and Air Traffic Control. However, margins are the space that surround and protect certain boundaries and may not be associated with every sort of boundary. In retrospect, it probably would have been a better process to have written on the idea of boundaries before margins, but life, the stonebridge we are traveling, does not always occur in an orderly or logical fashion. What would be the fun in that? So here we go: A boundary is defined as:
a line that marks the limits of a geographical area; a dividing line, “the eastern boundary of the wilderness”
a limit of a subject or sphere of activity. “a community without class or political boundaries”
Origin-early 17th century: variant of dialect bounder, from bound2 + -er1, perhaps on the pattern of limitary .
In looking for a stimulating quote on boundaries I was intrigued to see how many were about pushing, going past, changing or even disregarding real or perceived boundaries. There were a lot of quotes about establishing one’s own boundaries without regard to how it affects others, a sort of throwing caution to the wind, “I want out of jail” sort of feel. It seems these days we don’t care for the idea of boundaries. Yet, they do exist, apparently we need them, and secretly, we do want them. Proverbs, a book of wisdom, clearly says to “not remove the ancient landmark”. The word landmark comes from a word that means “a twisted cord” as in one used as a boundary marker; A limit, a bound. I think boundaries have gotten a bad rap and I want to explore the value of boundaries.