Compared to most people my age, I am not much of a social media kind of gal. I have a Facebook and a Twitter account that I peruse a few times a week, but that about does it for me.
Now, if you were to scroll around my Facebook account, you would see that most of my posts consist of funny videos, photos or stories of my nephews. I would also like to go on the record and say that I do have a social life outside of spending time with two young children. However, as any good aunt knows, it is my duty to spoil my nephews with time and attention.
As part of fulfilling that oath, I took my older nephew, Camden, horseback riding earlier this week. Camden adores horses and can actually ride solo in the saddle. He rides an old horse of mine that loves kids. Needless to say, Camden thinks he is Mr. Awesome atop his tall steed.
Cayle, on the other hand, is not a big fan of animals in general. He likes to come to the horse barn, and he enjoys watching people ride horses at the local horse shows we attend. But it?s safe to say he was more comfortable with observing animals at a distance?until earlier this week.
Because I come from a family of horse lovers, we have been trying to get Cayle to feel more comfortable around horses. Two weeks ago, Cayle finally touched a horse for the first time, which was a major step for him.
On Monday, while I was riding around our arena with Camden, my mom suggested we test the waters with Cayle to see if he would even entertain the idea of sitting on a horse. So, with great gentleness, she handed him up to me and sat a very rigid Cayle on the saddle in front of me.
As expected, Cayle started to whimper and squirm. To my surprise, however, he didn?t immediately demand to be taken down.
Instead, he began looking down to the grass. I imagine to him, it looked like he was miles from the safety of solid ground.
Seeing the start of a few tears, I tried to reassure him by wrapping my free arm tighter around his waist and telling him he would be okay. After letting him just sit and take it all in, I cued the horse to walk forward.
Before I knew it, Cayle was relaxed and almost 20 minutes had gone by. My mom even noted that, at one point, Cayle was smiling and waving to her as if to say he was proud of his grand accomplishment and wanted her to know it.
Of course, we had to document Cayle?s moment of triumph, so my mom whipped out a camera and took a picture of us riding together.
Looking once again at those photos today reminded me of the importance of courage. As adults, I think we can often lose our sense of courage and adventure. We get comfortable with doing routine things and forget that sometimes it pays to take a risk or to step outside of our comfort zone.
We don?t want to risk being perceived as nervous, uneducated, or not in control, so we stick only to what we know.
I think children, on the other hand, are by their very nature, much more brave than adults. Kids are constantly learning new things as they grow and aren?t as concerned with what others might think of them. In order to learn, you have to do, accept and discover things you don?t already know about, which often takes courage.
Western movie star John Wayne once said, ?Courage is being scared to death?and saddling up anyway.?
To Cayle, courage was taking a risk to sit on a horse with me, which was something scary to him. Will Cayle end up loving horses just like his big brother when he gets a bit older? Maybe. But, maybe it doesn?t matter.
The important lesson here is that Cayle took a chance and learned something new. He learned that while fear and nervousness is often warranted, it doesn?t mean that you can?t overcome it.
I know I wish I had the courage of Cayle sometimes.
What about you? Are there things in your life that you have wanted to do, but have always been too afraid to do them? Maybe it?s time you give it a whirl.
Besides, if a child can push past fear, does that leave any real excuse for the rest of us adults?
P.S.- I hope you have a happy Fourth of July holiday.
Please remember to be safe this weekend and to make cherished memories with those you love.
To the men and women of our armed forces, thank you for your service, and may God bless you and your family!