One of the hardest things about being a parent is letting your kids make their own mistakes. Most of us adults can make pretty good decisions at the three year old level, but it teaches our kids nothing when we choose for them.
Within reason, I guess you have to let your kids decide and then learn from the consequences. For me, that is a very difficult thing to do.
So there we were, practicing kids rodeo events in a nice soft arena. My little girl (three going on thirteen) was doing just fine riding on a miniature horse that I was leading around.
That is, until she decided that she was big enough to ride all by herself.
The miniature horse she was riding is a known turd. Heʼs not malicious, but he loves to run if not held tight. We parents knew this and explained. Peyton would have none of it and said she knew this and could handle it. She even demonstrated how she could pull back the reins and make him stop.
At least she wouldnʼt have far to fall.
The cards were on the table and Mom gave me the look saying it was my duty to catch her. Amazingly enough, we walked around the arena a few times and nothing happened. Peyton was in control. Dad was close by.
If that was all, this would be a boring story.
Sure enough, the horse was just waiting to get a step ahead of old Dad. As soon as he did, he bolted. A half dozen strides later, the determined cowgirl was on her cute little backside, covered in dirt, spitting out mud. Luckily, it had been a short fall.
She barely had time to cry and we had her back on, leading her through the barrels, telling her she was now a real cowgirl. After a few turns, she was back to smiling and singing whatever songs she could make up. We could barely get her off at the end of the day.
As we loaded up to go home, Peyton pulled me to the side. “Daddy,” she said, “I didnʼt really fall off the horse today.”
“Really, sweetie, what just happened then?”
“Well, Dad, Marshall was running and was going to trip on that stick so I jumped off so he wouldnʼt trip on that stick. I saved him from falling.”
If she doesnʼt end up a cowgirl, she might have a future in politics.
Until next week, keep smiling.
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