The Wisdom of a Horse

The Wisdom of a Horse

My youngest child is drawn to animals.  He is the epitome of an animal lover.  Thus, I was not surprised when he wanted to go horseback riding at a young age.  When he turned 6, he used his birthday money to go to the barn at a local park and ride a horse.  He was a little guy-not only because he was six, but he was a small 6 year old.  He strode right into the barn and requested to ride Tonka-a draft horse, the largest horse in the barn.  Unfortunately, Tonka does not fair well in the arena so Tonka was not an option.  However, the lady at the barn offered Parks another option-Belle, another draft horse.

He cherished every minute with Belle.  This experienced sparked something inside him.  We then found a barn that would allow him to ride and take informal lessons.  He did well until he didn’t.  There came a time when he just continuously became frustrated at riding.  It was too soon.

For his eighth birthday, Parks asked if he could attempt riding again.  I took a new approach this time.  I agreed to set up lessons if he would agree to work on confidence, self control and impulse control when with the horses.  He agreed and off we went.  He started in the little arena with a lovely horse.  He rode confidently.  He is now only five weeks into his lessons and each week he amazes me.  When we arrive at the barn, he is able to get his horse from the pasture, brush him, saddle him and ride with minimal assistance.

He is learning about how to communicate without using words.  He is learning the importance of “willing” the horse to trot and to work with him.  He remains calm around the horses.  He is gentle and caring.  He knows that he and the horse must trust each other.  I am not sure why my youngest felt the need for horses in his life, but I am forever grateful. The horses can teach him things that I have not been able to in a way that works for him.

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Anger and Communication

How do you approach anger?  How do you communicate with others?

From my previous posts, you know that I recently finished the book, Discpline without Distress.  Dealing with anger and communication come up throughout the book.  I do not plan on going into more detail on the book.  However, I bring the book up again because it relates very nicely with the lessons my oldest is learning.

Sims is taking an Outdoor Leadership class through Latta Plantation Nature Center.  Last week, the class reviewed the different communication styles including aggressive, assertive, passive and passive aggressive.   Obviously, I was not a part of the class, but Sims and I did discuss the different communication styles.  The styles were discussed in the book I read as well, so it was fun to have a discussion about each communication style.  It is times like this that I realize how much my “little boy” is growing up!

So what are these communication styles and what styles do you typically use?

Aggressive– Do you push your opinion on others?  Do you use force to get your way?  Do you make excuses?  Are most problems someone else’s fault and not your fault?  Do you use harsh language or violence when things do not go your way? Do you feel the need to control others?

Assertive-Are you comfortable asking for what you want/need?  Do you take the time to be respectful to yourself and to others-even when angry?  Are you able to stop and take a breath and think before you act?  Are you able to accept that you have weakness but also aware of your strengths? And of others?  DO you realize that you can actually only control yourself?

Passive-Do you hold your feelings in?  Do you avoid all conflict?  Do you apologize for things that you have no control over and/or was not your fault?  Do you take the blame for things that you know are not your fault?

Passive-aggressive– Do you apologize but then resent the fact that you apologized?  Do you use sarcasm to deal with issues?  Do you avoid a conflict but not in a quiet way (such as muttering under your breath, slamming a door)?  Do you feel like a martyr when conflict arises?  Do you avoid a conflict or addressing a person but continue to complain about the issue?

I found through much contemplation that I use all of these methods of communication.  When I am tired or hungry, I am aggressive.  I snap and then I begin to yell.  Thankfully, this is not too often (at least that is what the kids said when we were discussing these methods).  I tend to be more assertive with the kids. I am able to get my point across most of the time using my words and remaining calm.  I am not sure when I am passive, but I am sure that I am at some point.  Now comes the doozy.  Passive aggressive!  Oh yes, I am a user of sarcasm.  I am trying desperately to decrease my sarcasm.  I mainly use it with adults as my kids do not understand it so they take it very personally.  Definitely not my finest trait and one that I am honestly working on.  Obviously, I am a work in progress!