OUT­SOURCE SOME AS­PECTS OF YOUR PAR­ENT­ING TO AN­I­MALS

THERE’S ONE WAY TO MAKE SURE YOU GET PAR­ENT­ING DOWN PAT – OUT­SOURCE SOME AS­PECTS TO AN­I­MALS

Life & Style Weekend - - WELCOME - ON A LIGHTER NOTE WORDS: GREG BRAY Blog: greg­bray­writer.word­press.com. Face­book: Greg Bray – Writer

Folks, this week­end the von Brays will be mo­sey­ing around a gen­uine coun­try show. It’s a fam­ily tra­di­tion, along with The Pat­ting of the Bull and the Let’s wipe the ma­nure off our shoes onto Dad’s car mats rit­u­als.

The bull pat­ting thing started by ac­ci­dent, but it’s be­come an an­nual test of courage for any lit­tle ones in our care. It teaches them to step out­side their com­fort zone and face their fears, plus it’s funny as hell see­ing how scared they are.

You see, to a lit­tle tacker of four, even a sit­ting brah­man bull is roughly the same size and height as a cud-chew­ing shop­ping cen­tre. So, it must be fairly ter­ri­fy­ing when some smirk­ing adult nudges them to­wards a bovine be­he­moth.

Ob­vi­ously, I pick a fairly docile beast, in­side a strong pen, then stand nearby just in case the bull does some­thing alarm­ing like flick its tail, wig­gle an ear or moo.

Over the years all of our kids, and some of their lit­tle friends, pat­ted the bull; even­tu­ally.

This small act of brav­ery trans­formed them. They’d walked into the cow pav­il­ion timid lit­tle girls but strut­ted out as over­con­fi­dent brats.

Our mid­dle girl, who’d de­vel­oped a healthy cyn­i­cism for any­thing I asked her to do quite early on, re­ally strug­gled to pat the bull. But one year, af­ter we’d left the sheds, she dashed back in­side and when I’d caught up to her she was squeal­ing, “Dad! I did it! I did it!”

This ini­tially alarmed me be­cause the kid was a born trou­ble­maker (frankly, I blame her mother), un­til it dawned on me, she’d pat­ted the bull all by her­self.

That was pretty gutsy.

A tribal chief would have marked the oc­ca­sion by giv­ing her some sort of cer­e­mo­nial trin­ket. I bought her a dag­wood dog.

At this year’s show, I’m keen to see if her four-year-old daugh­ter is ready to over­come her fear of colos­sal cows. It’s just one of many more tests life will be throw­ing at her, be­cause there’s al­ways an­other bull to face.

Are you ready to pat yours?

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