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An Amazing Reminder That Discipline is Love

Finnhorse_mare_with_foal
Love = Discipline.
It’s hard to remember, and sometimes harder to enforce. My daughter and I saw an amazing thing the other day . . . at a horse rescue farm . . . that has served as a remarkable reminder that loving means disciplining. I’ll set the stage:

We’re looking on – into a small horse corral. In it there is a lively colt and his human handler. The colt quickly moves from lively to uncontrollable. While the handler is proficiently directing and leading the colt out of the corral, the colt refuses any attempt to be guided or led through the gate. After many attempts, the colt will have nothing to do with walking through the gate. He insists on charging toward the wooden barracks, at an unsafe and uncontrolled pace. He is jumping and thrashing, while putting his head up toward the handler as if to say, well, _____ you! He didn’t stop there. That little colt even stomped his hoof right at the handler, in timed cadence, protesting each of her requests and directions.
“Wow,” I said to the other horse trainer who was looking on.
“Is that bred in . . . does it have anything to do with his mother being rescued and giving birth to him here? Was the mother mis-treated, abused? Has it passed down to her offspring?”

“No,” replied the trainer.
“His mother doesn’t show him what he can and can’t do. She’s never disciplined him. She lets him do whatever he wants. It’s almost like she doesn’t care.”

WOW.

“How old is he?”
“3 months.”

WOW. I stopped in mid-sentence, in my muddy tracks, and let that all sink in.

Amazing.

Love is, in fact, discipline, at all levels of nature, from humans to horses, right down the lines.

That led to an amazing discussion between my 11 year old daughter and me. A discussion about discipline and love. And how sometimes they are one in the same . . . and that, as parents, we discipline because we love you. We discipline to teach you because we want the best for you (even though it doesn’t usually seem that way.) We talked about how hard that young, little colt’s life is because he doesn’t know what to do and what not to do. We talked about how, because his mom has never disciplined him, he doesn’t get along with other horses, other people, and therefore, is missing out on so much in life.

No doubt the trainers and handlers at the rescue farm will give him the love and discipline he needs; and they’ll turn his life around . . . patiently, slowly, and surely.

That day will be forever etched in my mind . . . serving as a beautiful reminder about how love is discipline. So, the next time you’re delivering a consequence – in response to undesirable behavior from your kids – and they’re telling you, “You’re mean!” and “That’s not fair!,” Remember The Little Colt. And remind yourself that . . . to discipline . . . is . . . to love.

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