Don’t Get Comfortable (Down the Line, Stran Smith)

When tying calves most people get in a position where they’re most comfortable. It’s not always the best position, but that’s where they’re comfortable. Don’t settle for less because of comfort. I’m constantly striving to get better in all aspects of my life. Whether it’s my roping, my spiritual walk or being a better husband and father, I want to be the best I can. That means taking risks and leaving my comfort zone. Complacency breeds mediocrity and that’s just not good enough.

My natural instinct is to be a coach because I make a living by winning. But now as my two-year old wants to rope, play golf and bat baseballs I’ve had cause to reflect on my own childhood and how my dad coached me.

Admittedly I was probably the most hardheaded kid in Texas and didn’t want to be told anything, I wanted to do it myself. My dad supported me and would turn calves out for days on end. He might, or might not, make a suggestion in a day’s time. Now, I think that was partially due to my hard headedness, but also because he knew the value of me learning to figure things out for myself.

As parents we love our children to distraction and want them to be the best they can be and enjoy the benefits that come with being the best. But even with the purest intentions we can rob our kids of developing problem solving skills and learning to think for themselves by telling them what to do and think.
Over the years I’ve seen this quite often at clinics and junior rodeos but had never given it much thought until I became a parent. As I play ball with Stone, I have to work hard to keep the coach in me at bay. Not only because he’s even harder headed than I was, I don’t want to turn quality time with my son into a critiquing session that he won’t enjoy and ultimately want to avoid. If he enjoys it now, he will want to excel at it later.

I’ve been a parent for less than three years and don’t pretend to have all the answers. But I do know that it’s the most important job I’ll ever have. It’s both hard and rewarding and as I raise my boys I’ll try hard to keep an open mind so I can encourage them to be individuals.

As parents it’s easy, even if unintentional, to sacrifice your child’s happiness for your own goals. As for me, I’m pushing myself to be the best dad I can be and sometimes that means not saying a word.

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