Monday, December 12, 2011


 There’s nothing quite like having the right tool for the job.  Hours, days and even weeks can be shaved off the estimated time of completion.  Headaches, injuries, and a thousand little frustrations can be eliminated by making a quick trip to the hardware store and investing a few bucks.

One such tool is pictured above.  This is what I call a fence tightener-thingy.  It has an official name, but it would hardly be more descriptive than mine.  To sum up, one begins by securing the loose end of the barbed wire to a stationary point, like a tree or a t-post driven into the ground. One then inserts a portion of the wire in the left grip and clamps down.  The same is done to a second portion, about 2 feet to the right.  Next, one ratchets the device inwards, pulling tight the entire wire to the left and right of tool, and creating slack in the middle.  Once the wire it tight, the desired end is nailed down, and the tool can then be safely removed.

Whetstone Boys Ranch hopes to show boys the importance of acquiring the right tool, and the importance of rightly using it.  And we’re not just talking about power tools.  We’re talking about anger management, and meditation, and Bible-study, and regular exercise and eating right, and getting a good night’s sleep.  Tools that help us to be better at being ourselves – the unique type of person God designed us to be.

Ephesians 4:11-13 says that “Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Whetstone Boys Ranch and Boarding School is in the equipping business.  We are in the business of assisting the transformation of boys from being tools of the sinful forces that seek to twist, misshape and destroy, to using tools for the betterment of their selves, their families and their future as God’s servants. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011


 “Will” is an important word at Whetstone.  Brandon and Laura’s 2 year old son is named Will.  We have a beautiful chestnut brown horse named Will. (Interestingly, he was given that name years before he was generously donated to us.)  Will is a helping verb that aids in forming, among other things, the future perfect tense – a concept that we will be working hard to understand on Monday morning at Whetstone Academy.

More to my point, human will is central to any change that occurs on our ranch or in our boarding school.  We are not behaviorists.  We do not believe that our control of a boy’s environment makes him change.  We’re just not that smart.

But wait, I can hear you say, isn’t that the whole idea behind Whetstone Boys Ranch?  Create an atmosphere filled with unconditional love, positive role models, academic guidance, meaningful labor …and poof! a rebellious boy turns into a responsible man!

Not exactly.

Sure, we believe that environment matters.  We think horses and chickens and cows help boys learn gentleness and patience.  We think exposure to God’s word can encourage life change.  We are confident that our attention to detail on the outside can make difference on the inside.

But when push comes to shove, a boy’s will to change matters more.  And whatever you call us – boys ranch, boarding school, group home, residential treatment center – we will never be able to make any of our boys give their hearts to God.  Ours is a spiritual battle that must be fought with spiritual weapons.

And so this morning, when we received the fantastically generous donation of a round pen for training our horses – or I could say for training our Will – I was reminded of both the similarities and differences between training horses and training boys.

Both need limits.  Both need love.  But only one is capable of being forced into submission.

The other, in the future perfect tense, will have been transformed only when he accepts God’s grace, and understands that God’s limits to our behavior demonstrate his love.

Only then, will God’s will be our boys’ will too.