Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Calf Wrangling - THE HORSE

In my limited experience as a horse handler or parent, I have come to learn to look to experts for instruction. On my outing to the Arizona Cowboy College, I was told by a professional cowboy, a horse has the same needs as a 3 year old child:

  • A need for safety and security (secure love)
  • A need for trust and respect (strong hope)
  • A need to carry out work with a meaningful cause (significant purpose)
Without these needs being met, a horse can become anxious, unruly and even dangerous to ride1. Each horse has a set of strengths and weaknesses. A rider must acknowledge and adapt to accommodate the unique nature of the particular horse.

First, handlers must love the horse by providing pasture and grazing land free from hazardous obstacles with adequate nourishment that delivers unlimited clean water. Adequate shelter becomes necessary in certain geographical locations. A horse also has a need for companionship and affection.

As a new parent, I am becoming aware that a child experiences secure love when I consider the best interest of my child regardless of the cost2 (Proverbs 27:23). This includes a safe, honorable place to lay their head, appropriate nutrition, and an abundance of affection (Mark ). A child also has a need to know they are loved just as they are (Psalm 139:13-14) with all their quirky uniqueness. Secure love “seduce proofs” children against Satan’s counterfeit solutions (Genesis 3:1-6, Matthew 4:1-11) of wealth and materialism. Dr. Tim Kimmel’s formula for secure love is:

Secure Love = Acceptance + Affiliation + Affection

            Second, the cowboy college teaches trust and respect between the horse and rider must be established prior to carrying out any work. The amount of competence a horse has depends on the confidence instilled in the horse through trust and respect with the rider. When the rider leads with assurance the horse has a strong hope to carry out the work for the day.

            A child has an overwhelming need to know they have hope for the future. (Jeremiah 29:11)3. Dr. Kimmel notes when we as parents consistently act to develop our child’s God-given abilities they have a strong hope (Proverbs 15:1). As they develop a series of positive accomplishments through taking risks and being adventurous they become strong courageous adults (Joshua 1:9). A strong hope “seduce proofs” a child against Satan’s counterfeit solutions (Colossians ) of power, high-control, and abuse4.

Strong Hope = Abilities + Adventure + Accomplishments

            Third, a horse needs work to do in relationship with a rider. But, the handler must act with honor toward the horse.

            I observe my preschool age daughter to act and behave with enthusiasm for life when she knows she has a sense of significance. My face-to-face attention joining her in play gives her meaning5 (Matthew 18:5-6, 10). When I reprimand her gracefully, I am careful to not break her spirit but retrain her in the way she should go (Hebrews 12:7, 9, 11). A significant purpose “seduce proofs” a child against Satan’s counterfeit solutions of popularity, applause, and recognition. 

Significant Purpose: Affirmation + Attention + Admonition

            Dr. Kimmel teaches that my failure to meet my children’s three inner needs causes the unmet need to become their greatest fear as an adult6. When I fulfill their needs:

  • I set them up to face the future with a deep sense of personal security, significance, and strength.
  • I help them to develop a positive, balanced view toward themselves, others, ourselves and God.
  • I empower all their efforts at school, sports, work, play, and the interaction with the members of their family.
  • I give them the internal resolve they need to deal with rejection, embarrassment, and negative peer pressure.
  • I prepare them to know and love God by making it easier for them to appreciate the intrinsic value He sees in them and appropriate the endless power that he wants to make available to them.

To learn more about raising kids for true greatness (buy the series of books), join Dr. Kimmel at his upcoming conferences. Be sure to follow Dr. Kimmel's blog

Be sure to read other posts in this Calf Wrangling series:

The Rider
The Horse
The Relationship
The Roundup
The Team

1. Johnson, Wylene, Teaching Philosophy. http://www.girlinprogress.com/wylenewilson/teaching.htm  (accessed March 20th, 2011)
2. Kimmel, Tim Dr., Raising Truly Great Kids conference manual, page 18.
3. ibid, page 22.
4. ibid, page 23.
5. ibid, page 20.
6. ibid, page 24.