It has been a year and a half since Grace made the difficult phone call to ask the director of our local horse stables if she could volunteer there once a week. She was thirteen, and agonized over the call, partly for fear of talking to a stranger, but mostly for fear of being turned down.
But she did it, and to her surprise, the director said yes on the spot, without meeting her first. Since then, Grace has spent every week at the farm, now going 3-4 days every week, and it has been a fantastic experience for her.
I have allergies, so I just do the driving. Actually, the allergies are my excuse. I also don’t get involved because horses are not part of MY life mission. But mostly, I stay out of it so that Grace can practice leadership in this endeavor. And, it’s working. According to recent mentor meetings with Grace (personal weekly interviews and goal-setting sessions), she feels that working at the farm has given her great confidence in her ability to do hard things and work with people of all ages and types.
In addition, she is even more convinced that horses are a significant part of her life mission, and she is more motivated to study and learn and gain skills that will help her be successful in all aspects of working with her equine friends.
So, does it work, to mentor a young person, to help her find her passion, and then “let go the reins” and see where it leads? For this wonderful young woman, the answer is: YES.
Is this what your intuition is telling you your child needs? Well, I’m here to tell you I don’t regret a thing about letting her self-educate and use her agency to see what she can do in the world.
Here she is, riding while a friend captured it:
Now, just to be clear, our family gives Grace $0.00 for the horsey endeavor, she doesn’t own a horse, and in fact, the horse she’s riding she has worked with for months because he is naughty and likes to buck people off. She is training him to be safe for younger riders. Grace doesn’t have advantages here, she has determination.
There is something exciting about watching someone take steps toward their life mission. Watching someone who is passionately engaged in a good cause, it’s wonderful to see. We all benefit when this happens, and we should quit standing in the way of it. It makes the world a brighter place.