One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is Focus on the Family. It offers insightful information for marriages and parenting and has been extremely influential for my relationships with Mark (my husband) and Colette (my daughter). Recently, one of the topics was raising children who are able to discern and maintain a healthy connected relationship with their parents. While the whole podcast episode was wonderful, one comment by Jim Daily really stood out in my mind. He said “Parent’s often believe that if we can control our children’s behavior then we have their heart, but this is simply not true.”
As I heard this, I couldn’t help but think about horsemanship. It is a popular belief that if we can control the feet of the horse, then we have connection with them and this simply isn’t true. Connection comes from mutuality, allowing both parties to have a voice. When we allow our horses to express themselves and feel heard and when we allow our children to express themselves and feel heard we show them 1) VALUE – they are worth listening to 2) RESPECT – we honor their thoughts and opinions 3) VULNERABILITY – our horses are simply being honest and we need to be honest with them in return.
Your children have important thoughts, that when honored will continue to be communicated to you with openness and vulnerability. When we listen to the little things, eventually we will be told the big things. Same thing goes for your horse. When you honor the little concerns and fears they have, their trust in you grows exponentially. Take time to listen today.