I once heard Michael Phelps’ mom say that swimming did good things for her son – to focus his energy and attention. It was something that he could throw himself into obsessively, with tremendous positive outcome.
For Kieran, it’s anything with animals. The first summer in our new home, we signed him up for horseback riding lessons.
He loved them. Here is a video of his first lesson: https://www.facebook.com/aileen.hower/videos/10151742754930026/?l=5639188832360662684
Moreover, he never complained about brushing the horse, cleaning up the equipment, sweeping out the stalls – anything that needed to be done to care for the horse. This valuable part of the experience taught him responsibility.
There have been other times when he was asked to help out, clean, or do any form of manual labor: in the garden, at church, in our home. If asked for his help, he will scrub, set up, tear down, or rake with reckless abandon.
The key? He feels needed. He knows that his help will matter.
The reward? His energy gets things done. His focus is honed. His help is acknowledged with gratitude.
But where animals are involved, the better!