Parents, sometimes it’s hard to walk beside your children. With the best of intentions, parents tend to over or under step sometimes.
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Sometimes we get in a hurry. We “don’t have time” and we forget how capable our kids are, so we tend to step in front of them and do things for them. Daily tasks like grooming, saddling, feeding, gathering practice stock, etc.
At events, checking the draw, paying entry fees without teaching them the process, finding people to push their livestock, telling them what to think about before they compete instead of asking them what their though process is, etc.
Some days, life is extra busy and kids need the extra help or maybe they are too young to lift the saddle by themselves, but if we don’t teach them ways to figure out ways to help them figure these things out on their own or give them the responsibility, what are we teaching them in the long run? Are we teaching them that we don’t have enough time to let them learn? Are we teaching them that we don’t think they are capable? Are we teaching them they don’t have to be responsible and put in the hard work to reap the benefits?
Other times, we put our kids up in front of everything. We might teach them to do everything and give them all the opportunities in the world through clinics and entry fees. They do a lot of the work, but we love them so much we become blind to their attitudes. We get in the shadows of their success or goals.
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Sometimes we expect them to do it all on their own. We give them the tools but don’t provide the education. They ask us to help, but we’re too busy. We send them with other people and maybe ask how they did when they get home. We play a distant role, sometimes leaving our kids feeling alone or like they don’t do enough to get your attention.
When we walk beside our children or the youth in our lives, we provide them with the tools and education they need to be successful. Then, we allow them to do it on their own, being there to answer questions, provide a word of encouragement or a suggestion. We hold the stirrup of the saddle, so it doesn’t drop, while they get under it and shimmy it to the top & give the latigo and extra tug to be sure the saddle is tight enough.
We let them ask to practice making sure they’re doing it because they have the heart and the work ethic. They’re responsible for getting things ready and putting things away when they’re done, even if they do have schoolwork.
When it comes to competing, you walk them through the application form and explain the cost of entering rodeos, paying for feed and how much of your checks go into that among the other costs of living. At rodeos we let them ask for help and expect them to say thank you no matter if it’s you as their parent. Before they compete, they look to you to give them positive vibes and talk over what THEIR plan is.
When the rodeo is over, win or lose, you talk over the runs, what went well, what can use some improvement and that your proud of them regardless. We teach them how to keep a conversation with friends and adults and don’t let them get stuck on their devices. We respect them and they respect us!
Don’t get me wrong, things come up and life is busy. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. But as we’re keeping our kids in check, let’s make sure we’re keeping ourselves in check going into this year.
If things haven’t been great in the past, you can change that today! Change isn’t easy, but it can be done and it’s OUR responsibility to do it! They are who we teach them to be. Lead by example.
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