Lives under construction

I received a beautiful letter from Boys’ Lives Under Construction boys’ ranch. I just have to share it with you because it’s such an encouraging letter, especially when you consider how close the boys there were to going to jail. They were going in the wrong direction and the ranch turned them around.

How did the ranch do it? They have taught their boys to be helpful and show respect. Now respect is one of my favorite words. It is ageless. We should learn to show respect to everyone, regardless of age. We need it when we’re young and we need it when we’re old. It’s so great to receive it and it’s so great to give it. We have to be trained to see when people need help and to provide it. And there’s no such thing as “this is a girl’s job” or “this is a boy’s job.” Our sons Rusty and Dan both knew how to clean house, cook and wash clothes. Of course, when your parents both work it’s a necessity, but everyone should be taught. They made wonderful husbands.

In the letter from the boys’ ranch, they said “Love has no meaning until it is given away.” What a beautiful sentiment!

Here’s another good observation. This fall they raked a lot of leaves. They observed that one small leaf is not a problem, but when it’s combined with a lot of leaves we have a problem. They then said one wrong choice when combined with many more can be a big problem. And what do we always say? We have the power of choice. When we make good choices we have positive results. We can all learn from Ken and Shella at the boys’ ranch. They give their boys work to do on the ranch as punishment. They don’t yell and scream; they just let the boys work in the barns and clean up. They pound posts, etc. What’s so wonderful about their discipline is that the boys see the fruits of their labor. And of course, they also learn to stay in line. This is a wonderful technique to use with your children. Turn off the television and the technology toys and put them to work.

Let’s finish with some laughs.

It’s OK to remember a woman’s birthday. Just don’t remind her which one.

I don’t understand people. They can read the most outrageous things in a book or a newspaper and believe them, but when they see a “wet paint” sign, they have to touch the paint!

We have been taught not to lie. Sometimes being truthful and tactful at the same time can be difficult. I’ve thought of a few situations like that and some ways you can handle them. For example: If a woman has a face that could stop a train, you could say “She’s in traffic control.”

When you see an ugly baby you can say things like “Oh what a big baby!” or “I can’t believe that’s your baby!” or “Now that’s a baby!” or “I’m sure that baby is one-of-a-kind!”

Here’s a cute story. A woman was sitting next to a French man. A fly landed on her plate. Wanting to show off her French, she said, “Regardez le mouche.” He, being a perfectionist, said to her, “Non, la mouche. Mouche is feminine gender.” She answered, “I never knew the French had such incredible eyesight!”

Have you ever noticed how people sow their wild oats all week, and then pray on Sunday for crop failure?

I went on a diet for 14 days – no bread, no sweets, no dessert, no eating between meals. And at the end of 14 days I had lost two weeks.

Just so we don’t lose our senses of humor!

By the way, I attended the League of Women Voters’ annual meeting on Thursday. I agree with and support everything the League is doing.

Margaret Valone is a Fredonia resident. Send comments on this column to