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Re: It's not trivial

With all of the recent conversation, I felt it important to share this post from another

Subject: [clickryder] Re: It's not trivial

: It feels good to sit in front of a computer and do something as normal
: as write an email. Like all the rest of you, I've been watching the
: terrible images of sorrow that are unfolding via the television. It is
: so unbelievably sad; sad to think of the passengers on those planes and
: the terror they must have felt; sad to think of the firefighters
: climbing to their deaths in those towers as everyone else was rushing
: down; sad to think of the families devastated by their losses; sad to
: think of the rescue workers forever changed by the nightmare horrors of
: what they are seeing. So many images, so many terrible things, but the
: saddest of all is thinking about what may be coming. That's the most
: frightening part of all of this. What will our reaction be? Will we find
: a wise course of action in all this chaos, or will we become just
: another terrorists who screams for an eye for an eye?
: Tuesday, when all this was unfolding, (was it only Tuesday? It's hard to
: put something as ordinary as a name to that terrible day. Monday we were
: an innocent nation, children thinking we were safe and protected. The
: rest of the world might be filled with madness, but we considered
: ourselves to be an island, safe within our borders. Tuesday our
: innocence was blown away. Today we are part of the world. Our actions
: matter, and they come home to us, just as they come home to everyone
: else.)
: So Tuesday, in the midst of all of this, I had a blacksmith appointment.
: I always hold my horses for the farrier, an old habit that developed
: years ago with Peregrine's mother. She was a wobbler, and she needed my
: help to keep her balance for the farrier. The custom has remained,
: though the need is no longer there. It gives me a chance to chat with my
: farrier, and to learn more about trimming feet. Usually that's what we
: talk about, but on this visit I got a gem about training. My farrier was
: telling me about another of his clients, an Indian who lives in the back
: woods of Massachusetts. This man was sharing some of his handling
: techniques with my farrier, showing him how he asks for a foot. In the
: course of their exchange he said: "If you want their cooperation, you
: can't hurt them."
: Metaphors, that's what our horses give us. Metaphors and an
: understanding of how to get along in the world. "If you want their
: cooperation, you can't hurt them."
: When I was little, I used to wonder at the news reports from abroad of
: people shouting their hatred of the US. Why were we so hated? I didn't
: understand it. We were the nation that sent plane loads of food overseas
: to help with famine relief. We were the nation of Peace Corp volunteers.
: We were the nation of freedom that others flocked to. Why were we so
: hated? When I was six, I remember asking those questions. I couldn't
: understand it. I still don't understand it. How can any of us watching
: that terrible image of the plane slicing through the World Trade Center
: understand this kind of rage?
: I live in a comfortable world. My horses enjoy a lifestyle that would
: anger many people. The news is filled with images of people living in
: poverty and hunger, crowded into tiny shacks. My horses live a pampered
: life. Is this wrong? I don't know. But what I do know is the lessons I
: learn from my horses are important. And I know that even small things
: matter. What we are doing here on this list, sharing our love of horses
: and our interest in clicker training, is not trivial, though when you
: look into the faces of the rescue workers, or the families desperate to
: find their loved ones, it can at times seem that way.
: The lessons our horses give us are for the tomorrows that are coming. We
: need to remember the terrible cost of punishment. We need to understand
: that punishment always, always has negative side effects. Let us hope
: that those who are making the decisions now, understand that, and
: consider those consequences carefully. The effect of punishment is
: unpredictable. Let us hope they understand that, as well.
: Our horses teach us that if you choose punishment, timing is everything.
: And they teach us that it must be delivered it in a decisive and
: effective manner. If you nag away with your punishment, you will
: desensitize your horse. That means you'll have to hit your horse harder
: the next time, and harder still the time after that to have any effect.
: You may reach a point where your horse is so desensitized to pain that
: no amount of threat has any effect on him. Ask the owners of aggressive
: horses how unpredictable and terrifying their horses are. These horses
: have lost their fear. They will charge through any level of pain you can
: inflict.
: That's another metaphor for these events. Is that what we have created?
: It would seem so.
: Humans want justice. Let us hope we also want solutions. In the days
: ahead there will be many voices crying out for vengeance. Those of us
: who train horses know that we must not get angry in response to our
: horses' outbursts. Instead, we must get very quiet, and very clear. We
: must focus on what we want. We must find the one piece of good behavior
: in the midst of all their rage, and focus only on that. We must hold a
: clear image of what we want to create, and as we do that image will take
: over. The rage will turn to interest, and then to cooperation, and
: finally to partnership.
: Those of us who have trained difficult horses know this. We understand
: the truth of these lessons, and many of us have learned how to translate
: them into other areas of our lives. That's why this is not trivial. I
: know our country is going to take punitive actions against the
: organizers of these terrible acts, but I hope we also remember to focus
: on what we ultimately want to create. It is up to us on these lists,
: through the internet, through our families and our community groups to
: focus on what we want to create. What kind of a world do we want to live
: in? As you watch these terrible images flooding into our lives, step
: back from all of that. Go stand out in your horse's field. Run your
: hands through his mane, and let him tell you that all is well. His
: father's grandfather may have died on the battlefields of the Civil War,
: an innocent victim of that great tragedy, but he does not want
: vengeance. He lives in the now, not the past. Let his lessons help us
: shape a future where six year old children do not have to wonder why the
: world hates us.
: Alexandra Kurland
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