By: Deb Kitchenmaster
What if someone handed you an invitation to be accountable for your choice or action with the guarantee of no punishment? Would you say yes, or would you refuse? This month I want to talk to our community more about the humans in it than the horses. I guarantee those who take this to heart will take a step in the direction of becoming a leader worth following.
Community is important. Community simply reflects a group of people, society, the public, a neighborhood. As a reader of HORSE WHISPERING you have noticed I sign off as “NEIGH”bor. I am your neighbor, as well as you are mine, and I’m having fun emphasizing horse language while writing articles. This past November (the Saturday before Thanksgiving) in Madison County, a car from Limestone County got stuck in my east pasture after breaking through three wooded rails of fence, and unearthing two wood posts cemented at the base. Fortunately, no one was hurt. The property owner made his way to the young man being pulled out by friends who had a chain hooked to their vehicle. A first and last name was given; the county of the license plate noted, but NOT the full license plate number (It was dark out). Why was our pasture, where fortunately no animals were grazing, the one that had been trespassed? Party! Yes, word of mouth travels quickly among our young people looking for something to do on the weekends, and the word had gotten out that there was this party going on. Car after car (I counted 17) actually were driven from the neighbor’s house by the police.
But now, let’s get back to the fence. The mother of the adult son who was housing the party told me they would fix our fence. She lied. She’s “not responsible.” Okay. However, because she refuses to show kindness and be impeccable with her words to me, she is robbing her own son of the blessing of being accountable! You see, this isn’t the first time someone has missed the curve and found themselves smack dab into our pasture! The first two times both young men had a conscience AND healthy parents as well as grandparents in their lives. Grateful no one was injured, the fence was repaired. I received the nicest letter from the grandma expressing appreciation for our working with them and being kind to the grandson they were raising.
But here we have an entirely different kind of parenting! I’ve pondered this and have zeal to voice this to the community, mine and ours! What are we teaching our young people? Like a sperm needs to fertilize an egg to produce life, responsibility fertilizes accountability to produce a clean conscience. A clean conscience is free from condemnation. A conscience that is condemned or guilty (confess your faults to one another that you might be healed) will always lead to punishment. Think about it. When someone is found guilty, there is a type of punishment. We are opening our people up to addictions by removing them from the blessing and cleansing of accountability!
Two adults we had conversations with were the mother of the son who held the party, and the dad of the young person in our pasture that night. They had one question: Did you get the license plate number? How sad. No responsibility here! Funny thing, the young man called and asked how we got his name. The particulars of the broken fence were discussed, he didn’t deny a thing, ending the conversation with, “Let me talk to my dad and I’ll get back with you.” He chose not to call back. That’s how the conversation with the dad who had the one question came into being. Author Jeff VanVonderen, Tired Of Trying To Measure Up, said when it is more important how things look, how things are will not surface. Jeff is a chemical dependency counselor. How interesting.
I am in hopes that some young people will read this HORSE WHISPERING article and say, “Wow! I was there, I know who she’s talking about,” or “I was out in the car when so and so was being pulled out of the pasture.” “I was at the party when a man asked, ‘Are you hanging around with these people?’” Nodding in the affirmative, he said, “You need to find new friends.” And to these two young adults, I hope you accept my invitation to get in touch with me so you can experience a blessing that will NEVER leave you! To experience what it is like to cleanse your conscience by being accountable. The joy of someone who is kind with a gentle smile looking you in your eyes and simply saying, “Thank you!” Let me be clear. I do not want one penny to fix a fence. I do not want to find fault with the ones involved. Not at all! I want you to experience the BLESSING of light and easy FREEING. What refreshing feeling comes when you are accountable and then free! Please accept my invitation. I care about you; after all I am your “NEIGH”bor.