This subject has long intrigued me and I have had an interesting time observing the attitude of many different people under many different circumstances. What governs the likes and dislikes of people? Is it entirely attitude or is it based partly on circumstances or is it even partly inherited? I will record here some observations on this subject and let you observe my attitude on some things and compare it with your attitude of the same things.

The Dung Beetles

When I was a little boy I spent some summers herding the milk cows out on the flat east of the Riqueña near the canal. I would arrive early at the farm in time to put a nose loop on old Captain and drive about 35 Holstein milk cows out along the lane, across the Railroad Track and out into the beautiful sea of Black Grama Grass. There the cows would spread out to hungrily fill their paunches with the sweet stalks of green grass. I would slide off Old Captain, my faithful companion and take off the nose loop leaving the long rope around his neck so he could get his share of the sweet grass. He especially enjoyed the little knife like seed pods and would busy himself collecting them. As I slowly followed along behind the grazing cows I would amuse myself watching the many different insects and bugs in their business of life.

When a cow would leave a pile of manure I would walk over to watch how quickly the Dung Beetles would arrive to utilize the fresh manure. Within minutes the different kinds of Beetles would arrive and land around the cow pie on all sides. I don't really know why we called that pile of Manure a Cow Pie but that is what we called them.

The big bronze green and gold Beetles would come buzzing in and land taking time to fold their delicate wings under the golden green shell that covered their backs. They looked like an armored tank with a formidable horn on their heads. They would use that horn to bulldoze their way into the fresh steaming manure. After awhile they would emerge rolling a ball of manure fully as big they were, about three quarters of an inch in diameter. As they rolled it out they would pack it as they rolled it along away from the Cow Pie. They must have deposited their eggs inside the ball as they formed it in the cow pie because as they rolled it along they would begin to seal the outside of it with a liquid that would pick up fine dirt to finally form a hard dirt shell that sealed the Manure and their eggs inside. This became an excellent incubator for the eggs and larvae.

Along with the arrival of these big beautiful Beetles there would come some black ones that were about half the size of the big ones. These would follow the procedure of the big ones, rolling out a ball their own size. They would tumble it along with their back feet while they seemed to be standing on their heads. Also some smaller shiny black ones would arrive. They would go to the edge of the cow pie and burrow under it and deposit their eggs in a nest in the moist earth to be incubated by the heat generated by the manure.

Their methods were very different but successful because there seemed to be thousands of Dung Beetles that used the manure for incubation and food for their Larvae. The attitude of all of these beetles toward the manure was that for them it was a life giving substance that provided food heat and shelter for their offspring and was a necessary element in their reproduction process.

My attitude toward this same manure was very different especially when I happened to step in a fresh cow pie with a bare foot or when I got hit in the face with a cow's tail covered with fresh manure. For me it was a messy smelly substance that I could readily get along without but I accepted the fact that the wisdom of the Lord provided a very beneficial use for this waste product not only for the Beetles but also for fertilizer for us to use on our gardens and fields.

My attitude completely changed about manure when I saw how it made the vegetables grow when applied to the garden soil.

When I was a boy hoeing weeds I thought I hated weeds in general especially the kind that you could cut off with the hoe one day and 5 days later see it starting to grow back from the roots that remained in the ground. One day a neighbor boy Pedrito Saenz came over to where we were hoeing and asked if he could collect some of those hated weeds for food. He called them Verdolagas (greens). He said that his mother loved to eat those weeds and that she sent him to get some. I decided to taste a little branch of the weed and found that they were soft and easy to chew and had a pleasant green taste and were just a little bit slimy or slippery inside.

When Naoma and I were first married we wanted to have some vegetables in our diet and we didn't have any lettuce or spinach in the garden so we enjoyed eating those little stems and leaves of the verdolagas. We still thought we were coming down to eating weeds instead of the regular vegetables but we enjoyed them anyway and learned to really like them. Later on when we began to study medicinal herbs we found out that our lowly verdolaga was a very valuable medicinal herb and was named Purslane. Later we read an article about our lowly Purslane in the Readers Digest where is stated that scientists had found that the lowly Purslane had been exalted to the Herb that contained, the most of any of the Herbs, the ingredients that were necessary for the boosting of the Immune system.

Our attitude has completely changed about this valuable herb and we guard it carefully and let many of the plants go to seed in the garden so that we will not lack for Verdolagas to eat with our tacos or just eat them fresh. Ventura takes some home every year and his wife bottles them so that they can have Verdolagas in the winter. They also use them for soup. If you cook Verdolagas in any kind of soup it will thicken the soup and enhance the taste.

Aunt Mary stated last night that those Verdolagas were the biggest pest that she had in her garden because she said that if you leave just a little piece of root when you pull it up it will come back and grow from that piece of root. We didn't seem to be able to change her attitude toward what she called those terrible weeds.

We develop our own attitude about things from the concept we have of that particular thing and combine it with our general attitude and it becomes part of our personality. Our concept of anything is the some total of the experiences we have had with that particular thing or subject. I will illustrate this by touching on a very controversial subject.

When I was a boy we planted a big garden. Very early in the spring we planted Peas. As soon as the peas began to come up hundreds of Chipping Sparrows began to eat the little tender leaves as they emerged from the soil. My brother Bob and I had our Flippers (sling shots) and Dad asked us to keep the Chippies off the garden to keep them from eating the peas. With plenty of rocks we sat down in the secluded shade of the grape vines and from there we competed to see who could kill the most Chippies. Soon the Chippies stopped coming into the garden so we went hunting them all around the house and yard. I became a hunter using my skill and stealth to kill my prey. One day I saw a Butcher Bird chasing a little sparrow that was just learning to fly. As he chased that poor little sparrow he would slice deep wounds in that little bird with his sharp hooked beak until finally the little sparrow collapsed from pain and the loss of blood. Then that pirate of a Butcher Bird landed on a post and screeched his victory cry. I looked him over very well and saw small bird about the size and color of a mocking bird. That is where the resemblance ended. He had a big head with a sharp hooked beak and across his eyes he wore a black mask. He had a small body and short wings and was really not that fast as an agile flyer. He had a straight narrow tail that made him look top heavy. I guess that is why his official name is Logger Head Shrike. After witnessing his cruel attack on that poor little defenseless Chippie I became his bitter enemy. I drew back on my Flipper and let fly a rock. He just sat there and watched the rock whiz by his head. The second rock hit him on one side and he fell to the ground mortally wounded. I went over and picked him up to examine him. He immediately reach over and slashed my finger leaving a deep painful cut about a half inch long on my finger. I dropped him like a hot potato and hurried in the house to get a bandage and stop the bleeding. When I came out to find him he was lying where he fell limp and dead. I picked him up and examined him. I marveled at that sharp, strong curved beak and wondered why the Lord had given this small bird this big head and powerful beak. My attitude changed and he was no longer my enemy he was only filling the measure of his creation and doing what he needed to do to survive.

I later came to admire the Butcher Bird as I watched him fly high in the air and capture flying Grasshoppers and come down and eat them tearing them to pieces with his powerful sharp beak. I have often watched him slice the neck of a lizard as it fled to escape that powerful beak. I have seen a collection of Grasshoppers and lizards impaled on the barbs of a fence near his nest for future use. As I got to know the Butcher Bird better my anger turned to admiration and I learned to listen to his lovely warbling song as he sang softly to his lady love on her nest.

In our relationships with people around us as we get to know them we can find many qualities worthy of admiration and emulation. Many times our attitude will be reversed toward those that we might at some time have felt animosity.

I have observed that some men when they are called to a position in the church work hard and do their best in that position. When there time comes to be released their attitude seems to make them feel that they are being demoted and feel rejected and become inactive and offended because of their release. What a waist of time for that person to spend time feeling sorry for themselves and being offended and hurt.

My many experiences of hunting Turkeys in the Sierra Madre have given me a love for the sport of Turkey calling. The thrill of going out early in the morning before the breaking of dawn to listen to the booming gobble of the big Gobblers on their roosts in the high Pine Trees is unique. Then to test my skill and experience of calling against the sensitive hearing and eyesight of the wily Turkeys, in trying to get them to come in answer to my call, is a real challenge. To have the experience of watching a big beautiful Gobbler come up strutting slowly from side to side and hear his booming gobble in the still morning air can give one a love for the Turkeys and the sport of hunting them. Then to have a delicious breakfast of fried Turkey breast is another plus and plenty of reason to enjoy Turkey Hunting. The successes have far out weighed the times when I have walked all morning and have not been able to get anything to answer my call. On these occasions on my return my family eagerly ask, "What did you get"? I can only answer, "Tired". Then the question, "But what did you kill"? Again the answer, "Time". My main excuse for going Turkey hunting is to call the Turkey for someone else to shoot. I have been calling Turkeys since I was a Boy Scout, but usually for some family member of some friend to shoot and experience the thrill of hunting a Turkey.

Now take my attitude of Turkey hunting which is to go out and harvest a few Gobblers of the hundreds of Turkeys Roaming in the Sierra Madre and compare it to the attitude of someone else who has the attitude against hunting. They might say, You go out on purpose to deceive the Turkey and make him think he is coming to find a lonely hen and then you shoot him when he comes in and destroy one of God's beautiful creatures.

My attitude and answer to that is: The Lord has given everything on the earth for the benefit and use of man both for food and to please the eye and gladden the heart. We use the Turkey with prudence and thanksgiving.

My whole point in writing this epistle is to say that we can be happy and enjoy life or we can be negative and pessimistic and live in dread and worry. It is all according to our attitude because it is not what happens that affects us but how we take it. We don't have to be negative for we can change our attitude by learning about the things that we are negative about and overcome our dislike and change our attitude. I am talking about the good things of life. I especially mention reading the scriptures and going to church and many other things that we sometimes have a negative attitude about.

Let our attitude be: The more we get to know a person the more we find to admire and love in that person. Let all criticism be left aside and not look for something to dislike about a person or situation. If we have a chip on our shoulder it can easily fall off by itself and we can become offended when no offense is intended. Let us have an attitude that: If I don't get offended I will have nothing to forgive. If we truly love a person they cannot take advantage of us because that is what we want them to do because our attitude is to help and serve that person.

We love you all and pray for your well being and blessing.