Fences

(Article originally written by Kent in October 1995)

Fences are everywhere. High and low, new and old, brick and wood, chain link and bobbed-wire, brown and white, they dominate our neighborhoods, highways, and farmlands. We use them to keep animals in and to keep people out. We count on them to protect our young children and correct our criminals. They allow neighbors to live together or become a constant point of disagreement. They can be cut, burned, run over, or blown down. They require constant attention and maintenance; our Oklahoma winds never allow them to get comfortable. Just when you think that you are caught up, another section has fallen victim to the glorious “Wind that sweeps across the plains”.

However, I never knew fences were so important until this past year. Our home is built next to a high traffic two-lane street, which is being widened to four lanes. When we bought our home fourteen years ago, we visualized a berm to give us sight and sound protection. We later discarded the idea and planted a large number of trees. Long before the trees reached maturity we finally added a fence between them and the street. It served us well until the contractors started parking next to it and knocked down a few sections. Then a semi trailer made a turn and flattened several more. Months later we finally got a fraction of the loss back from the two companies. We wanted to put up a new fence only after the rest of the construction was completed. Weeks became months and the city’s work was not yet completed, so we finally contracted for a new fence (213 feet!), not wanting to wait any longer. By the way, although the date to put up our new fence had been scheduled weeks before, the work on it began the day after 97 MPH winds destroyed most of the fences in our area. Our neighbors thought we had connections!

Only after we had replaced our fence did I realize how big a deal this was to our friends. Many came up to me at work or church and stated how much better our new fence looked. Its run-down appearance had not really affected us much since it was hidden from our view by our large trees. But our torn down fence, regardless of our circumstances, had left a bad image to our friends. Fences represent boundaries, protection, beauty, pride, and ownership. The emotional, social, and mental picture is far more important than the physical fence. To women fences mean protection and security for them and their children. For men they represent ownership, boundaries, and their domain.

For the last two months I have not been able to get fences off my mind. I guess we all need fences in other areas of our life, too. We can use emotional, mental, financial, moral, social, and spiritual fences. They may not be made of steel and wood, but are important none the less. These invisible fences that we establish create boundaries for our thinking, speech, and conduct. Perhaps one of the problems of our nation is that too many of us have allowed sections to be knocked down, holes to appear, and support poles to rot. Oh, we didn’t do the damage ourselves, but we were not vigilant to get them repaired. So our values have been forgotten, standards have been lowered, and our children are no longer protected.

So I would challenge you to not make the mistake I made by waiting too long. Get that fence repaired or build a new one. Put it up with pride and let your neighbors know where you stand. Have not only strong outside fences, but consider fences for your diet, your checkbook, television, reading, thoughts, speech, and conduct. Build them with pride and keep them repaired. Then when the storms of life and their 90-mile an hour winds hit us, we will be prepared.

Repairing my fences,

Kent

“Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. ”

Deuteronomy30:11″

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About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

4 Responses to Fences

  1. Cathy Westm says:

    Thanks for sharing your older but extremely valuable post. Very interesting & valid. This includes our blessed marriages too. Praise Jesus! Breathe deep!

  2. Bill Moe says:

    Kent;

    That could not have come at a better time. I am finishing a number of over committed things and have decided to work on my large family, growth in Christ and am taking a one year sabattical starting on the 21st of October. I hope your health continues to improve and this old man is working hard on diabetis without a lot of success. Might have both hips replaced this winter.

    Bill Moe

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