While attending a funeral recently, my kids and I hopped in my dad’s car for the internment. There are not many times I get my dad to myself. He’s always working, or there are 20 other people around. I got 10 minutes each way all to myself–if you don’t count the rowdy kids in the back.
In our time together, he spoke about how different people approach life. He spoke about how people make things happen. He spoke about how people allow things to happen. He spoke about how some force things to happen. He spoke about this while telling me a story of some “real” cowboys acting a notch too aggressively while herding cattle into a corral.
Working cattle for over 40 years, my dad has seen the consequences of forcing cows and calves into a corral or through a gate. Most of the time they go in, but some times they jump over the fences and break things. Or they get hurt or injure someone on the ground. Either way, the stress on the animal is unnecessary, digressive to the health of the animal, and eventually takes away from the rancher’s profit.
My dad’s philosophy is to let the animal figure it out with a little nudging and visual and audio pressure from the cowboy or cowgirl. This leads to fewer accidents and a lot of time saved in the long run. And animals that are less stressed.
He said that he prefers to let it happen, and to let the cows figure it out where the gates are.
Who knew that my 15 years of working on the farm was invariably a lesson in life in that way? No one likes to be forced, but to be allowed to figure it out themselves. In friendships, relationships, as a parent, as a daughter and sister, I can never force someone else to see things my way or do things that I want them to do and maintain a healthy relationship.
I have to maybe apply a little pressure and let them figure out which gate they want to walk through.