So I have always been of the mind set that hard work, responsibility and perseverance are good for the soul, you know idle hands and whatnot. I think our society has put the god of entertainment as the end all, win all, purpose for our lives. Eat, drink and be happy for tomorrow we die. Yet in my mind that is empty if you don’t have a true purpose, a cause and RESPONSIBILITY.
How can you enjoy laughter if you never cried? How can you feel blessed if you never had rough times? You can’t have day without night and you can’t have pleasure without responsibility! It is a delicate balance, everyone has heard ” all work and no play make Jack a dull boy” (or is it John?) but the opposite is also true. We shelter our kids wanting them to never have to grow up, they are only kids once right? But that does them no favors AT ALL! How can they be expected at the ripe old age of 18 to make life decisions? Especially when the biggest decision most have made up to this point was what they should do on the weekend. We want them to enjoy life, which is great but sometimes we over compensate and they are left being unprepared for life in general. I know I sound like a Debbie Downer but I guess what I am trying to say is as a parent it is our job to give our kids the balance of enjoyment and responsibility. Where is she going with all this you might ask? Or at least I would ask if I didn’t already know (okay I am just typing what comes, so it will be a mystery to us all 😉
Over the last month my little wrangler boy who is 7 years old, has decided he wants to start his own “business” which most of you are probably thinking, ‘oh how cute a lemonade stand’, ah nope, he has decided to train miniature horses and these aren’t exactly tame old mares that have been pets their entire lives, these are more like 2 to 5 year old stud mini’s that have never been touched, which if you know anything about horses means this could get pretty hairy. So let me give you a little back story cause otherwise you will be lost to as what made him decide to start in the mini business. A friend of my husband (who we’ll call J-Dog) was looking to get his 4 year old son a mini to ride and found a guy who was selling them for cheap, real cheap (there isn’t a huge market for unbroken mini stud horses let me tell you) and he asked my hubby if we wanted some for our little Wrangler boy, who up to this point would rather ride a 4 wheeler or go-cart than any four legged animal so the hubs declined the offer.
Just out of curiosity we asked our son if he would want to take a stab at riding them and surprise surprise he did, so we went over to said friends house after he brought home the mini’s and Wrangler boy took them for a twirl (yes I know twirl is girly word but I am a female and I like the word, so hush) Then the funniest thing started to happen every day my husband was home from work the popular question became.
“When can I go ride J-Dog’s minis?” from our 7 year old former motor head.
So off we went and drove the 30 miles to J-Dog’s casa to ride minis, we went several times and he rode them around, not very gracefully I might add but he loved it and before long the next popular question started to come up.
“Can I get my own minis?”
I had some reservations, allow me to list them. Long list now drops to floor.
1. Will he stick with the training? I mean he is only 7 and I do not, I repeat do not want to have a bunch of untouchable little stud horses running around I have to feed everyday. Whats the point right?
2. Will he enjoy it? I don’t want it to be a hassle and absolutely no fun.
3. Injuries. Yes I am a mom and the little dude could get hurt so the thought has entered my mind.
4. We already have a very interesting assortment of strange animals to put it politely, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.
Okay the list goes on but I won’t bore you anymore and I will get to the part about making it a business. The question started to change from “can I get a mini?” to “can I train my own mini?” and this intrigued me. He didn’t just want a mini, he wanted to make the mini into something he could enjoy and take pride in. Then the dreaming started.
“This could be my business. I could train mini’s and sell them. What should I call my business? How much money should I charge people? What should I call my business? I could ride them at play days and rodeo’s so people we see how good they are. What should I call my business? I will need a round pen. What should I call my business? I will need tack that fits a mini. What should I call my business? I can just start with minis and then go to ponies and then I can break regular horses like daddy. What should I call my business?” I don’t think I have ever seen him so excited about anything, he is a very serious kid most of the time. I couldn’t help but catch the excitement with him but the true moment I decided we needed to do this for him was an early morning when he was outside feeding the animals and I look outside to see him sitting in a thoughtful manner by our barn, which you must remember he is only 7 so I was really wondering what was running through his adorable little head.
“What were you thinking about?” I asked him.
“Oh nothing” he said
“It looked like you were day dreaming” I told him.
“Whats that?” he asked me
“You know happy thoughts, thoughts about things you would like to do.” I tried to explain.
“I guess I was. I was thinking about my mini business.” He said with a smile.
It warmed my heart to say the least, to see him after a long period of time( at least long to a 7 year old) still have the same goals. We started to discuss the responsibility side and I warned of the hardship it would be but to no avail he was still determined that this could be something he would love.
So I started to help the little man plan. we bought a much needed round pen, which mini’s aside we needed for our current horses, the Wrangler boy went to his bank and got enough money out to buy 2 mini’s and the required tack, it was very cute watching him add up all the expenses in his little head. And so the venture began, we drove a short distance about 60 miles ( we are in Texas that is considered short) to roundup the miniature stud horses. I know I haven’t forgotten but you may have so let me remind you, I am SO pregnant right now that I wasn’t much help to my husband when he had to rope and drag theses little guys (I call them “little but they are pure muscle just saying) into our trailer and the gentleman who we were buying them from seemed to think I needed entertainment so he talked and talked till I knew I needed to help out at least a little and broke away from gab man to get behind the mini and crack the whip so to speak, I got back pretty far didn’t want the little squirt in my belly to be in danger but close enough to get the untouched minis into our trailer.
The Wrangler boy was ready to start his business and so far we have mainly had good days, he has fallen off a few times when the little guys turned quicker then he was but overall injuries have been nothing but a bruise from falling into the water trough which lets face it he a is a boy and bruises are their constant companions.
I know there are parents who resent their kids because all they do is “clean up after them” or “take care of their silly dog” it is not going to kill your kids to let them clean up after themselves or feed their pets or even put some dishes up after supper, just remember to praise them, thank them and allow them to feel pride in helping out around the house, you will enjoy your kids more I promise (okay maybe not at first but if you make it enjoyable and if they are young enough you can trick them into thinking it is fun too). The thing that makes me realize more then ever how great responsibility can be is seeing this kid have purpose, he loves it, knowing that he bought and paid for all the needed material to start his own “business” and that he will be the one feeding and caring for these animals has made a crazy difference in the way he views himself. Responsibility is something that gives someone purpose and when a person puts their all into it gives confidence.