By Sharon Widmer
Listening to your child is difficult. After our daughter Camie went to college and spent many hours watching and learning from other ropers and riders and trainers, she came home with skills and information that could make me a better rider. I asked her to teach me how to put a better stop on my horses, and she was excited to help me.
Having Camie instruct me was difficult for me. Very difficult. I was uncomfortable. It felt like my stomach was scrunching up and I had brain fog. Wow. This did not feel right. I talked to myself: “It’s okay; she knows what she is talking about. Listen, let the information in, calm yourself and learn. Open your heart, relax, listen and try to do what she tells you. It’s okay, just relax.”
What an eye-opener. I was an open and willing student during clinics and with others who tried to help me, but with my daughter, I felt like freezing up. My guts were tight, and my mind wanted to shut her out. Dang! If that happened to me when I wanted to learn something, what was happening to my lesson kids, and lesson adults when I instructed them? I gained a great deal of empathy that day. I became a better teacher. And, I learned to listen to my daughter.
So your point is?
- Listen to your children. Really listen. Have them teach you. Like me, you may have to force yourself to listen! You may be pleasantly surprised about how much they know.
- It is difficult for children to listen to their parents. Parents talk at them all week long. Make eye contact and ask questions. Calmly have your child explain to you or show you what they have learned. You might hear that they understand, or you might hear that they listened but they don’t really understand. In that case, find another way or find another person to explain.
- Have fun. Laugh at mistakes because no one improves without making lots of them. Keep lessons the right length for the child you are working with. Appreciate every small step. There are SO many steps in a mile~stone!
Note: Camarie Widmer, CEO of RodeoKids.com has talent and a passion for helping young riders. I know because she is my daughter. I have watched her work hard to be a good rider and competitor, a good teacher and now to build platforms to help others find what they need to live the Western lifestyle, and especially for families to learn about and participate in the sport of rodeo. I am happy that she asked me to contribute to this section and hope it is helpful.