Saturday, September 29, 2012

Kids train Mules train Kids

This 5 month old mulestang's first time out...Santa Clara's Swiss Days parade.  Hanging with the grownups through the flash-bang of one all-American small town parade for 2 hours is worth MONTHS of training.

The pictures will do most of the talking for this brief update, which is more of a reflection on the admonition to "train up a child in the way he should go" than anything else.   The other night as my youngest child and I sat on a ridge at sunset looking over St George, I was moved by the majesty of the job of "Father."  I think the secret is starting them young, and then just pulling them right into your world where ever you can.  Reality is a pretty good trainer.  Integrating a kid into real life desensitizes their fears and gives them all kinds of confidence that they get to keep forever.  

In contrast, I'm not so sure that the current societal trend of creating an alternate universe for kids with all of its childish themes and bubble-wrapped safety netting is all that helpful.  My kids get tired of me reminding them that life is not Disneyland.  That is not to say that activities and responsibility shouldn't be age appropriate.  But finding that balance for me is all about gut-feel, not something I acquired from academia or peer pressure.  

So, with a twinkle in my eye, you might hear me say, "I train my mules with my kids, and I train my kids with my mules."   Getting them ready to be grown up is for keeps.   And I can't think of a better vocation than kid trainer.
First time carrying a flag.  Preston was more nervous about it than his mule, Senator.  But as soon as there were people to impress, he rose to the occasion.
No fuss mule.

The sun sets on Pine Valley Mountain, and St George lights up below.

Here comes the city like a tidal wave.  But the barn must stay full of hay.

1 comment:

The Three Muleteers said...

Great post - agree with the sentiments exactly! No better teacher than a mule for most things, patience, trust and of course to approach life with a great sense of humour!