Ha ha ha ha!! I got you to click in, didn’t I?? 🙂  Somedays, it’s all about the hook!a

This is a picture taken from a dairy show we were at a couple of weekends ago, the last show of our season. This is our daughter, Faith, leading a dry cow named Ashia, a four year. Faith posted this picture with the above title, and it made me (and a number of other people) chuckle. We had Ashia for a year and my other daughter, Gabrielle, showed her, so this was Faith’s first time. As you can probably see, Ashia is a monster. As a heifer, this was the only animal that Gabrielle never felt comfortable with because she was big back then.  Now, Faith’s head comes to about the top of Ashia’s shoulders, and to lift Ashia’s head up, Faith is doing some pretty serious lifting.

We’d not had Ashia at our place for a couple of years (no way I’m getting into the milking business!), so when it was suggested that Faith show her, we immediately had our daughter go over and walk the cow.  Faith also did some clipping on Ashia, starting to get her show ready.  Faith walked that beast for about an hour that day, then, as we got settled up at the fairgrounds, Faith took her out again, just to get reacquainted with her “old friend”.  Ashia is the only animal that I’ve ever lost my temper with because she is as stubborn as the day is long. My wife’s been quoted as saying, “I’ve never seen Darin so angry before, ever!!” So, to get this beautiful animal to move, I learned that it had to be her idea, not mine. Brown Swiss are known for their gentle disposition, but their general stubbornness as well. The relationship I’d built with this animal wasn’t great, so I had to change was I was doing to make sure that we were never put in that situation again.

Too many times, we forget, if that relationship isn’t solid or if there are issues, that we have to mend those fences to make sure that we don’t get stuck with a student who’s locked her knees and won’t do what we need them to do. And too many times, we get locked into that power struggle, a struggle that constantly stresses the student/teacher relationship. I see that struggle right now in a situation that’s close to me, and I have to ask one question: why? As professionals, we know what the right thing is, we know that the relationship with our students is one thing that will make or break a student in a specific class. And if that student isn’t comfortable with the class or subject matter to begin with, the relationship is that much more important. If this is true, why do we allow those relationships to deteriorate to the point where parents need to be contacted? If we can see there’s a problem, why aren’t we the ones who are being the adults and reaching out, asking what we can do to mend those fences?

Like I said, this one is pretty close to me right now, and what makes it harder for me to stomach, our district set aside an entire day, the first day of our PD, to talk about relationships and how important they are for our students. We know what the right thing is. We know, even with our most difficult students, relationships matter, sometimes more than the actual content. Yet, we allow our students to lock their knees and we are left trying to drag them along. Does that work well?

So, as I led Ashia around that weekend, she wasn’t hugely tolerant of me. However, she followed my lead, not because I drug her along, but because as she walked in, I was right there, petting her, talking nice, and allowing her trust in me again, just like my daughter did. She didn’t lead because it was my idea, not at all.

Our students, they follow us because they trust us. If that trust is lost or broken, it makes life a lot harder for all involved. Will you make sure that you continue to build those relationships or is your classroom one of locked knees and no movement?

One will continue to push forward, the other, will continue to push.