In 2004 a group of seven spoilt and often aggressive British teenagers were sent to a working ranch in Utah called “Turn-About Ranch" to undergo a regime of strict discipline and hard work.
The vast majority of successful Brat Camps are in Utah, a state which takes morality seriously and has strict laws to enforce good behaviour.
The parents of the teenagers were miserable and frightened by the behaviour of their offspring but hoped that their stay in Utah would turn their lives around.
The kids were faced with strict rules like:
The ranch is run by cowboys who believe that the best form of therapy is hard work.
One of the cowboys said: “I am no psychologist or Phd. I don't hold a degree in nothing but cowboy. That's it. "
They teach the kids the ways of the Wild West and believe that a strict regime of chores, tough rules and harsh punishments can turn bad kids into good kids.
Following the rules starts as the 7 brats arrive at the airport in the strict state of Utah. The kids are told to stay together or they will be handcuffed together.
One of the welcome committee tells them not to laugh at the order to stay together:
"I will give you respect if you give it to me. I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If you can obey orders you will be fine. "
After a week or so, Josh, one of the magnificent seven, comments:
"Some of the most petty, petty, petty rules I've heard of. It really is quite tedious. "
They are told to just follow the rules and not question them.
Discipline begins with following the rules of others even if they seem petty but it continues with creating and following one's own rules.
It is no accident that the Brat Camps stress following rules. Rules seem petty and inconvenient and designed to get up your nose but they can be the secret to a happy and joyful life.
Without rules about speed limits, accidents are more likely. Without rules, most games would become meaningless.
Without rules, we are at the mercy of whatever feeling or whim we happen to have. Without rules, life as we know it would not exist. We would be back in the jungle where the only rule is survival.
Even our own rules seem petty when we don't feel like following them. However, our own rules can turn us into powerful people who are capable of controlling our lives.
If we can follow our own rule of going for at least one walk a day even when we don't feel like it, we will be fitter and healthier. If we can follow our own rule of not having sugar with our tea or coffee we will be slimmer and more energetic and so on.
The rules will seem petty but following them with only rare exceptions will mean fast progress and achievement in all parts of our lives.
Like the brats, we need to accept the petty, petty, petty, rules that can transform our lives.
John Watson is an award winning teacher and martial arts instructor. He has recently written two books about achieving your goals and dreams. They can both be found on his website http://www.motivationtoday.com along with a daily motivational message.
The title of the first book is “36 Laws To Ignite Your Inner Power And Realize Your Dreams Now!" The book can be found at this URL http://www.motivationtoday.com/36_laws.php
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