Gentle Guidance
May 24, 2011, 8:07 am
Filed under: May 2011

No need for words

                                                              May 24, 2011

     When I drive my horses, I do talk to them and give voice commands, but there is gentle pressure on the lines. I guide them this way. It gives them confidence and security. I don’t pull on the lines. I hold them tight with just enough pressure to telegraph my thoughts.

     I think driving horses helped me to become a good daddy and pa-pa. The method is the same. When gentle guidance is used it gives the youngsters confidence in themselves and in you. It provides them with security, knowing that you are always there, even when the lines are not in your hands.

     Holding the reins too tight is just as bad on young people as it is on young horses. They will begin to fight the bit, get strong willed and become a real handfull. Gentle guidance even when correcting bad behavior must be used. A slap on the rump builds character, but beating on anything will destroy self esteem, kill morale and instill fear.

     The idea is to train… not to break. The Bible says to train your child up in the way he should go and the Lord will make his paths straight. It doesn’t say anywhere to whip the crap out of him and break his spirit. Motivation by fear and intimidation doesn’t work very well and it doesn’t work for very long. Men and animals will resist this type of treatment some to their own deaths.

     I am not a push over. I define the boundries and explain what is expected. I then guide my charges through whatever the task may be. I expect them to do their share, pull their load and stay within the confines I have set. I will praise them with deed and voice and soothe them with a soft hand, building confidence every time a task is completed successfully. I show deep appreciation and love, it is not a weakness… it is a strength.

     I have raised sons and daughters that don’t spray paint buildings or mug little old ladies. I taught them to work and even enjoy it sometimes. I taught them to live inside the lines and to love with all their heart. I helped them to learn problem solving by using logic mixed with a little emotion. I have trained some good horses in my time too and those very same horses have trained me.

     I influence my grandchildren and have helped raise some fine young people. They may all say that I was tough sometimes, but not one will ever wonder if I loved them. I won’t take all the credit, but like the dew on the morning grass, I was everywhere. Gently guiding them, if only by the little voice in their heads. I am humbled to have had a hand in helping to grow such wonderful people and honored that they care enough to call me dad, pa-pa and even Ralph.

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