Breaking the will or spirit of any living creature just can't be the way God intended for us to behave. As a parent, I have had moments where frustration has peaked and self control diminished. Leaving me with a strong intent to break my child's will.
Having little control scares me as well. Whether breaking a horse or raising a child. Sometimes I wonder what it is that I am so deeply afraid of. Is it the fear of injury, heart or physical? Am I afraid of what I believe the future to hold if this behaviour continues or is it my reputation? What will people think when they find out my child has done this? What will people think if I can't train this horse myself ?
From studying horses and the herd dynamics, I have learned that there are dominant, lead and passive horses in the group. They have a hierarchy amongst them, though they feel safe and live comfortably within this structure.
The passive horse gives up and is easily pushed around by the herd. I recall those times when my passive child seems to just follow along without voicing his feelings. He is learning that remaining quiet is better than having a confrontation. By allowing him to stay passive, am I parenting for myself because this is easier? Am I creating an individual that will struggle to keep the peace, at any cost?
The lead horse is more concerned with his herd hearing and trusting him, rather than movement. This horse will use a little pressure, such as pinning back the ears or a strong glare, to ask another horse to move. But he will release and soften that pressure before asking again. The pressure can increase to a charge, if movement doesn't happen, but the relationship is about acceptance, respect and trust. I wonder how this method of respect might transfer to my relationship with my children?
I have concluded that in my training, whether of child or horse, "I" is the problem. When I allow my ego to run a muck in my life, then I only care about what is best for me. If I am concerned with what others think, then the behaviour of my child is my focus and not the heart or the relationship. Then I become like a dominant horse and the time will come, when I choose to take what ever means necessary, to ensure that I get what I want; glory.
When I forget that as the trainer & parent, my job is to build strength, confidence and character, then my agenda is self seeking and I forget to release the pressure. I again take on the characteristics of a dominant horse and demand my little herd to move in every way that I ask. When they don't, I continue to increase the pressure until I get movement but why do I seem to be unaware of the injuries that are forming? When will the time come when "I" can shift to "we", solidifying the well being of all?
How can I get out of my own way and have a heart centered approach? What is it about me that isn't first interested in a true connection with my child or my horse? Do I know how to create such a connection? Why is my focus only on performance? Am I trying to fill a void within myself that can only come from the illusion of success? If it looks great then it is great, therefore I am great?
I am thankful that my God refuses to break my spirit when I am bucking or rearing at His requests. I know my God's love but it isn't because He sets me free or is passive but rather by the way He leads me. He gently adds pressure to steer me to greener pasture but when I start to fuss, He releases. Then He asks again. Dominance isn't His nature. He isn't interested in just ensuring that I move when He asks. He wants me to trust Him and accept Him as lead.
I confess that I am still trying to figure out how to be led. I am also trying to sort out my need to be in complete control of my herd. Self seeking leadership is a challenging attribute to refine. But as my Lord applies pressure, during the release, I hope to be sure to listen.