While playing with peers, my sons were exposed to inappropriate, harmful behavior. My husband and I made the hard—yet easy—decision that there must be adult supervision when our boys were with a certain child.
The day after we explained our unpopular stance, we providentially read aloud Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Young Almanzo wanted to train the two-year-old colts, but his father said,
A boy who didn’t know any better might scare a young horse, or tease it, or even strike it … It would learn to bite and kick and hate people.
When Almanzo persisted chapters later, he was told,
In five minutes you can teach them tricks it will take me months to gentle out of them.
Eventually, Almanzo went too near the colts. His father repeated his warnings.
That’s too good a colt to be spoiled. I won’t have you teaching tricks that I’ll have to train out of it.
We were accused of being overprotective, of taking mischief too seriously. We knew it was deeper. Unexpectedly reading Wilder’s words—written over fifty years earlier—was encouraging. How much more valuable were boys than colts.
Have you received parenting encouragement from an unexpected source?