When I was a kid growing up in the 50’s and 60’s one of my favorite programs was The Roy Rogers Show. This action-packed TV Western series, popular among kids, was set in the traditional style of cowboy and cowgirl attire, six-shooters, and galloping horses.
The show featured the owner of the Double RR Ranch, Roy Rogers (“the King of the Cowboys”) and his Golden Palomino, Trigger (“Smartest Horse in the Movies”), Roy’s wife, Dale Evans (“the Queen of the West”), and her horse, Buttermilk, along with their German Shepherd, Bullet (the “Wonder Dog”) as well as their comedic sidekick, Pat Brady, and his jeep, Nellybelle, that sometimes seemed to have a mind of her own.
At the close of each episode while the credits were rolling, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans rode away on their horses singing, “Happy Trails to You,” written by Dale, herself…
Happy trails to you, until we meet again,
Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then,
Happy trails to you, ’til we meet again.
As I look back on it, what made the show most meaningful is that the characters were always on the side of good. They were heroes who rescued victims from villains and brought justice to the west. There was always a moral lesson to be learned in each show. And sometimes they would even give pointers on conservation and gun safety.
The lessons depicted in the show were emphasized outside the show, in the real world, as well. In fact, Roy Rogers reportedly had a group of young fans known as the “Roy Rogers Rider’s Club.” To be a member in good standing, you had to follow 10 rules:
1. Be neat and clean.
2. Be courteous and polite.
3. Always obey your parents.
4. Protect the weak and helpless.
5. Be brave but never take chances.
6. Study hard and learn all you can.
7. Be kind to animals and care for 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 country.
I believe these are the kind of rules that today’s kids would do well to follow, inspite of those who would jeeringly say they are “too old fashioned.” Could such rules be revived? But where are the heroes inspiring kids to follow them? They seem to be few and far between. Otherwise, perhaps kids would not be so unhappy and troubled as so many are today.
In her article, “The Truth About Troubled Teens,” (verywellmind.com, 10/6/2018), Psychotherapist Amy Morin reported,
In the next 24 Hours in the United States…
… 1,439 teens will attempt suicide.
… 2,795 teenage girls will become pregnant.
… 15,006 teens will use drugs for the first time.
… 3,506 teens will run away.
… 2 teens will be murdered.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. According the report, there many more alarming statistics pointing to problems of youth and crime, teen pregnancy, suicide and mental health. This is hardly a picture of satisfaction and innocence among our youth.
We need good guys of today to show the youth of today that the rules of yesterday will lead them to happier trails than the ones their traveling on now. Kids need to understand that those rules are not silly or boring or out-of-touch. Rather, they are most valuable for instilling stability, security, and safety in their lives.
The Bible calls on us to instill wisdom into our young people. “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it,” (Proverbs 22:6, New International Version, NIV). And this is done by teaching them and showing them how much happier they’ll be if they follow the rules God sets forth in his Word (Deuteronomy 11:18-25). In this way, we can become their heroes as much as Roy and Dale and the cast of other good guys when we were young.
We all want to see that we show our kids the right way to live and be happy in preparation for the Kingdom of God. For that is the ultimate goal of every follower of Christ, both young and old. And what could make us more happy than entering his Kingdom when Jesus returns!
So, happy trails to you, ’til we meet in the Kingdom of God!
Good News to YOU!
P.S. Here are Roy Rogers and Dale Evans singing their classic song: https://youtu.be/eEqUyNaSdvg