Parenting 101 As Learned From The Wild West

Lucy and I have been reading through the Magic Tree House series while Landon is at school. It started innocently enough: we found the first book in the series at the thrift store and I started reading to her while she was having a snack one day.

I was immediately impressed with how long she would sit and listen to me read. She asked for more and I obliged. Even better- our library has most of the series available as e-books.

We recently finished “Ghost Town at Sundown”; the tenth book in the series.

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After I finished reading it to her, I could not get this one part out of my head. The book is set in the Wild West and like most of the series, one of the main characters, Jack, does a little research to help them as they’re visiting an unfamiliar place and time. For this book, he has a list from a cowboy about how to treat a horse. They’re hoping to settle some wild mustangs. According to the notes Jack took, “Horse Rules” are as follow:

-Soft Hand

-Firm Voice

-Sunny Attitude

-Praise

-Reward

That’s exactly like parenting!

Learning to parent Landon through his special needs has really stretched us this year. Autism builds patience through routines that can’t be broken. It is a mirror as your kiddo tries to show correct emotions by mimicking yours (which is why spanking doesn’t really work for us). It spurs compassion when you step outside on the first very cold day of the year and watch your kiddo twirl their hands in wonder, trying to catch the cold air that feels like it’s pressing on their exposed skin. Your heart explodes when they learn or do things for themselves.

I can honestly say this has been the hardest year for us, which made this reminder all the more sweet. Parenting might be messy, but it can be broken down simply.

God even broke down the Bible for us, “Jesus replied, ‘Love The Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Matt 22:38-9)

My goal for the week is to remember those uncomplicated horse rules.

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