Mamas, you can go ahead and let your babies grow up to be cowboys…if, that is, they grow up following cowboy codes like the ones you’ll find below.

My sermon yesterday at Wellspring Church down in Papillion was entitled, “Let’s Talk About Role Models” with the foundational text being 1 Corinthians 11: 1,2. And I introduced it with a story my Mom used to tell about me as a very young boy (before I could even read) asking her to give me my own Bible. The reason? I had just finished watching a TV episode of The Lone Ranger in which he solved a mystery by being remarkably familiar with a Scripture passage. And since one of my favorite heroes knew the Bible so well, I figured I’d do well to follow his example.

That’s a key difference between a mere hero and a role model. For the former can be “admired from afar” but the role model presents enough moral strength to influence a person’s behavior, priorities, even character.

And don’t think those cinematic cowboys (and their producers, scriptwriters, and advertisers) weren’t well aware of how influential they could be. Indeed, back in the day, that influence was considered as something to be invested for a child’s good…and thus, the good of the culture.

Examples? Well, check out the following lists that I offered to church goers after the service. They are terrific moral codes that come from my 3 favorite cowboys.

“Ten Guidelines for Life” from Hopalong Cassidy

1) The highest badge of honor a person can wear is honesty. Be truthful at all times.

2) Your parents are the best friends you have. Listen to them and obey their instructions.

3) If you want to be respected, you must respect others. Show good manners in every way.

4) Only through hard work and study can you succeed. Don’t be lazy.

5) Your good deeds always come to light. So don’t boast or be a show-off.

6) If you waste time or money today, you will regret it tomorrow. Practice thrift in all ways.

7) Many animals are good and loyal companions. Be friendly and kind to them.

8) A strong, healthy body is a precious gift. Be neat and clean.

9) Our country’s laws are made for your protection. Observe them carefully.

10) Children in many foreign lands are less fortunate than you.

Be glad and proud you are an American.

Roy Rogers’ Rules (for a Life Well-Lived)

1) Be neat and clean

2) Be courteous and polite.

3) Always obey your parents.

4) Protect the weak and help them.

5) Be brave but never take chances.

6) Study hard and learn all you can.

7) Be kind to animals

and take care of them.

8) Eat all your food

and never waste any.

9) Love God and go to Sunday School regularly.

10) Always respect our flag and our country.

The Lone Ranger Creed

1) I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one.

2) That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.

3) That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.

4) In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.

5) That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.

6) That “this government, of the people, by the people, and for the people” shall live always.

7) That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.

8) That sooner or later – somewhere – somehow – we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.

9) That all things change, but the truth, and the truth alone, lives on forever.

10) I believe in my Creator, my country, my fellow man.

But be doers of the word,
and not hearers only.