Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pep Talk: "No Donkeys Please"

“The Chinese New Year begins January 31st,” mentioned the messenger. “It’s the year of the Horse.”

That factoid was recently dropped into this simple dude from Missouri’s lap inside the small studio at KCNC-TV, CBS4 in Denver. A bunch of fun folks from Public Service Credit Union were gathered for what’s called Help Team 4. I host businesses’ segments on this show. The PSCU folks are a joy to work with, friendly.

Anyway, as we were waiting to tape a segment, one of the employees mentioned the equine fact. I asked the woman, “Who is your favorite horse?”

She smiled, pondered, then offered: “I don’t know.” 

I countered, “Well, you know, how about the great thoroughbred champion Secretariat? Or, maybe, the one and only talking horse, Mr. Ed?” That question drew another big grin. “I like the Budweiser horses. The Clydesdales.”

There ya go. This bud’s for you. We’re getting ready for the Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival. The history’s pretty interesting. Apparently a long time ago, a mythical beast would show up on the first day of the new year and devour everything in sight: vegetables, animals and human beings. The Chinese would put food on their porches in hopes the creature would spare them. Then one day, a small girl in a red coat scared the daylights out of the hideous monster. It ran. That’s why you see tons of red in what’s become a huge and important two-week celebration. Spook away the evil spirits.

Each year has a different animal name. There’s twelve. Can you name them? This year, it’s the horse’s turn. Wikipedia says the chosen animal has influence on everyone born during that year and exerts powerful influence upon unsuspecting infants.

Here they are: Rat. Ox. Tiger. Rabbit. Dragon. Snake. Horse. Goat. Monkey. Rooster. Dog. Pig.

This would be a decent year to be born. There’s about eight very unappealing one’s on that list. I’ll take the horse and be grateful. It could be worse. What do we admire in horses?

Plenty. Dang, we’ve learned in the last decades of their great value in working with children dealing with certain challenges on the autism spectrum. Horses have a wonderful calming effect on some kids. I’ve seen firsthand the magical connection that sometimes happens between a horse and a child. It’s cool and sometimes life changing. As a society, we would do well to emulate that spirit – a calming effect - on our frazzled kiddos. 

More kids stuff. A visitor to our Friday Platoon meeting of knuckleheads was talking about his ministry’s work in serving fatherless boys. There are tons of them out there these days. No dad in sight. Fathers of the Field stands in the gap for these kids. Men take boys hunting, fishing and other stuff - like fixing cars. “I’ll never forget the look on a kid’s face when he jumped into the cab of my truck,” said our guest. “He smiled and said, ‘Thanks for showing up!’” I have no idea, and don’t care, whether any of these guys volunteering for this agency are the next Secretariat, a Clydesdale or Mr. Ed. They’re all studs. Thanks for caring for kids.

The Victory Productions’ theme for this year is “Soar in One Four.” It’s 2014. Two. Zero. One. Four. Thus, the “SIOF” mantra. How about this as a rallying cry for each of us - man and woman? When it comes to caring for our kids, how about us, in trying to soar in one four, rallying around each other, committed to being studs and damn fine mares? Who’s in?

The taping at CBS4 was the greatest ever. Despite being just a few weeks from delivering a baby, PSCU spokeswoman Sarah Collins was flawless. I always joke with her that she’ll be in the guest Hall of Fame some day. She’s smart and gets it. We knocked out the taping in record time.

I don’t know if that was a good thing or not. It sure gave me lots of time to think about horses. I’ll quit boring you with this: No horsing around when it comes to coaching up the kids. Studs. Fine Mares. Take your pick. No donkeys. Please.

Have a great week!

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