Julie & Rusty Bulloch, proud parents of 25 kids, open their home and hearts in their new reality TV series “The Bulloch Family Ranch,” on UP TV. Here the fun-loving working class couple, shares its recipe for making it all work. The Florida natives spoke exclusively with Lingk2us!
Their calling to care for struggling kids began
16 years ago… I was raised in a Godly household. I grew up in a small Southern town, where everybody was like your surrogate mom or dad. Everywhere you went parents were looking out for you. I think that, plus my love of football [influenced] my love for kids. I found early on, even back before we took in children that I just had this love for young people and I think through that love we began to see that need. This wasn’t something that we planned on doing… Not at one time have we sat down and said let’s talk about our next kid, or ask why are we doing this? It’s just something that we did and it just mushroomed.
Julie: Growing up in a home with two parents, (my parents have been married 66 years and Rusty’s parents have been married 62 years), we have that legacy of a close family. Working with young people at our church, we got to see the hurt in kids eyes. I don’t believe that there’s any such thing as a bad kid. I think that there are things that develop in their lives and circumstances that create bad habits; but, there’s good in every single young person.
With such diverse temperaments and personalities how do you hone into the needs of each youngster?
Julie: You have to realize that every young person is an individual and that each one has to be dealt with differently. We try to provide a place where they can come and work on the structure of their lives. We try to set an example of good parenting but are by no means perfect. We make our mistakes. But when they come through the door, we see their hearts. We don’t see their past . We don’t concentrate on the things they have done wrong or hold them over their heads, we just try to give them a fresh start. A lot of times kids dwell on their past and that holds them down.
Although Julie is an Entrepreneur (running her own out door entertainment business, selling meal replacement shakes, catering and doing photography) she manages the household, shopping and the kids. While on the other hand Rusty, a High School Football Coach, is also a Youth Pastor and one of the country’s few carrier specialists in horse hoof care… Somehow despite their hectic schedules they manage to make it all work…
Julie: It’s a little well known fact around here that I suffer from being a little unorganized at times. I have what we call a “Julie moment”, where I forget to order a metal? Or perhaps I booked a plane on the wrong day. I keep lists, but also keep another list in case I lose the original list. I tend to work best under pressure which is crazy, but I think that’s a symptom of what they call adult ADD. The fact that I posses a high level of energy, along with constantly juggling things and being on the go… that it’s just natural.
Rusty: I’m exactly the opposite. I’m extremely timely and organized. I think that’s why we work so well together, we balance each other out.
Rules are rules…
We have very few rules. Telling the truth is the biggest one. Your responsible for picking up after yourself, following the structure of curfew and doing your household chores. The last one, which always gets a laugh, is don’t make Julie cry! I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve…..when I love, I love with all my heart. Taking the car away and other priviledges is not our method of discipline. It’s pretty much if you can’t go by the rules, then you have to move on; because we’re here to help you, not enable you.
Rusty and Julie reflect on what they know for sure…
Rusty: This goes back to what Julie stated earlier… there are no bad kids, just bad circumstances. We see the desire in almost every single kid that’s been through our home. They want to make something of themselves. They want to do the right things and succeed in life. So we tell them that everyday, presents a chance to make a positive decision.
Julie: I think it goes back to the importance of time. Time is something you can’t buy and It’s something that you can’t give enough of. Even if you can’t take a young person in your house or financially take them on… you can position yourself to volunteer a few hours here and there to met a young person– which makes a world of difference.
The time capsule of my life would carry…
Lots of hand tools. I believe in hard work… working with your hands teaches self-gratification. In a 100 years (kids) probably won’t know what a wrench is. We have kids who have never used a shovel or a hammer. And when they learn how to, it’s like “wow, I did that!”
Julie: I agree. It’s so awesome to see a young person on a tractor for the first time. I heard one of the kids say, “I love being out here mowing the pastures because you see what is
in front of you; but then you turn around and see what you’ve done”. “Wow!” Working with the land and working with your hands, just like Rusty said gives such satisfaction.
I hope to be remembered…
As a man, who lived by example. [As a coach] I think you need to be as much of an example off the field as your are on the field. It’s the combination of building character, teaching responsibility and accountability… and showing love. You don’t have to be mushy to show a kid love. An arm around them when they had a bad day – its all it takes. I hope to be remembered as a giving person who never expected anything in return. Trust me there are times when we worry about where the next beans will come from to fill the pot, but we try to teach our kids that monetary things are not important in life. But as long as you have love and someone who loves you you can make it through anything. So I would love to be remembered as someone who had a lot of love plus some.
Here’s what makes it worth while…
Julie: One question that we are asked a lot is: “which child was our favorite?” Or perhaps a particular child is selected because they’ve been in the news. There is no way we can pick an athlete over a stay-at-home mom! They are all equal to us. We love them all the same. The most rewarding thing for me is to see one of the kids that lived with us, reach out their hands to help someone else in need.
Rusty: For me that would be to hear “I love you” at the end of the conversation. Hearing “I love you Pops, or “I love you Coach” from a 6 foot five, 280 pounds defensive end… that’s the most rewarding.
The “Bulloch Family Ranch” airs on the UPTV channel;
Fridays at 9:00pm EST.