Consistent soft request goes further than an increase in frustration.  Have you ever tried to put a horse in a horse trailer?  If you have, and encountered a horse who did not want to go into said horse trailer, then you are very familiar with the mounting frustration that can occur.  You know how it goes… owner leads horse to trailer, horse freezes and questions its safety, then owner gets behind the driving zone of the horse or tightens the rope and puts increasing pressure on the horse to comply.  The horse panics and flies backward.  It can be an ugly scene.  Same for our children.  Parent wants child to comply, child doesn’t comply, so the parent puts increasing pressure on the child so the child then panics.  Consistent soft asking followed by a release once obeyed goes so much further and it keeps everyone using the thinking side of their brain, their pre-frontal cortex instead of their reptilian, reactive brain.  

Consider these factors in each scenario instead:

  1. Does the horse and/or child understand what you are asking?  If what is being asked is not understood, take the time to explain or demonstrate so there is no confusion.  When anger arises because of the child’s or horse’s confusion, it only escalates the frustration from both parties.
  2. Is there a physical reason that the child and/or horse are unable to perform the task they are being asked to do?  If either is unable to physically complete the request, they are simply being set up for failure and their confidence will be greatly shaken.  
  3. Ask yourself: Why is this frustrating me so much?  Am I being humiliated?  Do I feel like there is a disrespect occurring?  Horses are only able to demonstrate the truth.  If you feel like you do not have control, it is not because your horse is disobeying you, it is because your body language is telling your horse to not listen or feel unsafe.  

Think about the softness that is possible in your life because of Christ.  Even He is softly consistent with you, showing you the way.