Risky has been full of lessons for me lately – like don’t add garlic to her dinner, she’s not a fan.
Today, after a good ride, I gave her a bath. I tied her, and began the process of soaking, soaping, and rinsing. About half way through the first side, she decided she wasn’t having fun anymore and she pulled back. I stepped back, and while I calmly reassured her verbally, I physically stayed out of the way. I talked to her and waited for her to decide whether pulling back, or standing, were the better option for her.
I let her work her problem out for herself.
She had to work the same problem out twice today, to decide that standing was really a pretty fantastic choice.
We finished the bath, I put some stuff on for ticks and treated a couple of sores I found from tick bites, and I let her stand tied while I carted things back to the truck. I really wanted her to have the whole thing worked out and behind her, whether the water was on or off, or whether I was standing there or not.
It didn’t dawn on me immediately, the lesson in all of this. It took me driving away, replaying everything, to really open my eyes to this gem.
I have a hard time standing back and letting people work out problems for themselves – friends, family, my kids. If I don’t have a solution in mind, I’m pretty good at looking things up until I come up with a solution (or what seems worth a shot to me). But sometimes, people have to work things out for themselves. They need to know, and weigh, their own options – and we have to step back and watch. We can sometimes offer a word of encouragement or support, but everyone is safer (and learning more) if we stay back. It’s easy to jump in, thinking we are helping, and not only get ourselves unnecessarily hurt, but also the other person.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we abandon those that are hurting or walking through a mess, or creating a mess. I didn’t abandon Risky. But I didn’t make the problem worse by getting in the way. See, if I had jumped in, then when she leaped forward, I would have been stepped on. Or maybe forward wouldn’t have “looked” like an option anymore – leaving her with pulling back only. Pulling back proved to be a tiring endeavor that offered no results or solution to her perceived problem. So, she found a solution by coming forward.
Sometimes, the lessons we learn by testing, trying, and coming to our own conclusion, stick with us for much longer than the lessons other people try to teach us.
Can you think of a time you should have stepped back, and how that may have helped someone more than jumping in did?