The Benefits of Having That Pioneer Spirit and Self Reliance

The Benefits of Having That Pioneer Spirit and Self Reliance

By Larry Oscar

Well, here we are well into another year. We have a lot more people now that have moved to our lake in Northeastern Oklahoma, and they have come from all parts of the nation and all walks of life. They have brought with them their customs and the local culture from whence they came.

Some of them have found it hard to adjust to our frontier way of life. Oklahoma is just a bit over 100 years old . We have our own way of doing things and our own outlook on life. For the most part we are individual self-reliant people who want to be left alone. The pioneer spirit and that culture of freedom rings true for all Native American people. And in Oklahoma that is our native culture.

That is one reason we see things so different than many of the other more populous states. One thing we are not very good at is following the crowd. We are independent thinkers. Which is one reason we are slower to adopt change. It is also why we don’t suffer the problems that other states get themselves into.

The common sense of the people in Oklahoma is without question. “Look before you leap “ has been a very common practice among our people. It is for that reason we are not in the financial trouble many states are in. We are leaders in many other ways. While we are a heavy oil and gas producing state we are also the third leading producer of wind powered energy.

Our state also has an abundance of lakes and water resources. That is often a shock to those who live in coastal states. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the phrase “Where do you sail in Oklahoma?” In fact, the Catalina Nationals will be held this summer on Lake Fort Gibson for the second time. I travelled in 48 of our 50 states in my travels. During all of those travels I found no other state that had a better quality of life than we do here in Oklahoma.

One thing that has made Oklahoma a great place to live is our work ethic. We have always been a people that has a “can do” attitude. A strong work ethic and family oriented value system has been a hallmark of the Oklahoma people. My grandfather, Earnest A. Hetherington, owned a farm just west of Cushing, Oklahoma. He fathered and raised 8 children in the middle of the Great Depression and the Oklahoma Dust Bowl.

Yet he never took a single dime of government handout money. It was a matter of pride with him. Compare that with today’s new millennial generation of over emotional whiners and complainers. There is a stark contrast to be made here. It is my belief that the move to a dependant society in our country is due in large part to single parent families.

It was my father that told me to “suck it up, nobody owes you a thing.” If I had been raised only by my mother I would have grown up thinking that we were all just going to dance in the daises and sing kumbaya. The ethics parents pass on to their children does matter. In a world that is growing more emotional and intolerant of others beliefs you can expect change agents to cause a higher degree of social upheaval. Our close link to the values of our forefathers has kept the people of Oklahoma more grounded in reality than other states.

Regardless of the situation you can count on Oklahomans to survive. We have survived floods, tornados, droughts, fires, and even a losing season at OU in our past, and we are still standing tall. So bring on 2019, hoist a few beers, grit your teeth, and hang on.

(Larry Oscar is a graduate from the University of Tulsa and holds a degree in electrical engineering. He is retired and lives with his wife on a lake in Oklahoma where he brews his own beer, sails, and is a member of numerous clubs and organizations.)