Things This Boy Loves


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:

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!

9 thoughts on “Things This Boy Loves

  1. It is so true — I think it is human nature to want to help and a gift when someone lets you. So smart for you to notice this about him and to inspire it in him. I wonder if we are thinking about this in classrooms – slowing down to let the kids help. Something to think about… Can’t wait to see the video.

  2. Aileen, did you know I taught riding lessons from the time I was fifteen until I was 42? I am a horse lover – never could afford my own horse, but I mucked stalls, braided manes and tails, clipped, bathed – you name it – and it was the best! Glad to hear Kieran is riding. It is a wonderful spot for kids – and grownups, too!

  3. So wonderful that Kieran loves to help out, and also that you encourage him to do so! My kids were not always like that, but sometimes I think I stepped in too early just to get the job done. Lessons learned.

    1. Oh, I’ve done that too. But when they are doing their own thing (like letting him be a VBS helper – all on his own – because he pursued it), it helps me stay out of things 😉

  4. I love reading about kids working with animals and being kind to animals. It’s definitely time well spent for everyone! I’m glad Kieran found his passion. It’s something he can carry well into his adult years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s