It wasn’t suppose to take long. Surely no one would see me. Everyone runs out to get their paper in their pajamas or those sweats they wouldn’t want anyone to know they owned, right? Thing is, I wasn’t just running to grab something off the driveway. I was dashing out to feed my horses.
Back in December we invited an abandoned little horse named Pearl to live with us. The owners of the facility where Pearl was housed did their best to take care of her after Pearl’s owner just stopped coming around. So, she needed a home.
Much to my husband’s dismay, I like to rescue things. In this case, an eating and manuring thing! John sighed and let me take her in.
The morning I dashed outside, my thinking was I could feed our two horses with minimal exposure. I mean, we do have neighbors, but we are all on 2.5 acre lots so not that close. They wouldn’t notice, right?
I just needed to run out, grab and throw the hay, open the gate – and then head back to the house. Simple.
But, as I went to open the gate, Pearl got kinda pushy. I “asked” her nicely to move her rear end – the part that kicks – away from me. She didn’t respond. At about 18 years old, it seems she’s forgotten any training she had – if she ever had any!
You see, it’s not ok for a horse to be pushy. They are too big and can cause too much damage to anyone in their way. Horses, like people, need to learn how to be obedient, polite, and respectful.
I looked down at my pajamas, considered how this was going to look if anyone glanced my way and thought, Oh, well! I went into the barn and grabbed my training stick.
Pearl’s behavior simply could not be ignored.
Have you ever been in one of those situations? Not with a horse, but a child?
At the doctor’s office, the library, on a plane, in a store – you’re with your child and they start whining, demanding, getting louder and louder?! They get pushy like Pearl and try to get their way.
Let’s say you decide to not deal with the situation. You ignore it. Or you pacify your child to quiet them down. What are the potential outcomes of this moment in time?
– Your kid will disrupt others’ quiet.
– The child learns that they have the upper hand.
– They will repeat the behavior in the future.
– And, you will not take advantage of an incredible teachable moment.
And isn’t that what PARENTING is all about? Teaching? Training? Guiding?
Parenting isn’t always convenient.
So, back to Pearl.
I arrive back at the gate and ask her again to move her backside where it should be: Not near me! But she runs away from me.
You have got to be kidding me!
This is truly horrible timing! She’s being disrespectful. Thinks she’s the boss of me! Couldn’t I just pretend she behaved and allow her to just eat, despite the reality of the situation? It sure would be easier than parading after my horse in my pajamas!
– This 1,000 pound beast would learn she can disrupt my tasks any time I get in the paddock.
– She would learn it’s okay to be disrespectful.
-She would learn she has the upper hand and could do some damage to whomever is in her space.
-Over time, I’d be creating an animal that could become dangerous and need to be kept away from people.
If all those results came to be, then nobody wins. Not the horse – or a child! Ultimately, the consequences are felt by the one that is not disciplined.
So, like training a horse, strong, disciplined parenting isn’t always convenient, but it must be done.
Even when wearing plaid pajamas outside.