Now this parenting thing is no easy job. I have 8 kids and each one has a different personality and that requires a little bit of a different approach with each one, depending on the problem. I definitely don’t have it all figured out, I don’t think anyone does. There is a lot of good parenting advice out there and there is a lot of good parenting advice that won’t apply specifically to your situation. From bedtime routines, potty training, and breaking the binky habit, each of my kids has required a good deal of my patience and adjustment on my part. I have had to be creative and prayerful. (Heavy on the prayers!)
Recently, as I was struggling with my 2 year old tornado, and pondering my trouble with her, I was reminded of a horse we had growing up named Dandy. Now Dandy was a beautiful buckskin quarter horse. He was big and strong and had good breeding. The only problem with Dandy was he was pretty spirited and a little wild. He had the potential to be an outstanding horse, but he needed quite a bit more training. There were some cowboys that needed extra horses to go up in the mountains on a really difficult ride. They would be switching horses each day, as I remember, and they asked my parents if they could take Dandy. They said that by the time they brought him back, he would be well-broke. So off went our horse. Dandy had been so spirited and energetic, that they decided to not ever switch him out and give him a break. They rode him the entire time. When they brought Dandy back, he was not only broken physically to ride, but his spirits had been broken too……and he was good for nothing. Dandy never turned into the great horse he was intended to be because he had been driven too hard for too long.
As I was reminded of this horse and in thinking about my 2 year old, I was reminded, again, that you can be too hard on kids and break their spirits. Kids definitely need good guidance and care but they also need to be needed, they need love and positive direction. I know that sometimes my patience isn’t up to the tasks of the day and that’s when I take a “time out” and break away to catch my breath. Sometimes just being reminded of our horse named Dandy is enough for me to be more careful about being too hard on my kids. In order for them to grow up and become what they need to be, they each need their own little personalities intact. I don’t want their little spirits to be broken! I am definitely not a perfect parent, and that’s why I have to be reminded that all that endless energy just needs a lot of love and direction.