Raising Llamas & Kids
Llamas are from the dromedary family, they are related to camels. They can spit and sometimes be incredibly stubborn. They are also durable, intelligent and versatile. My llamas are used for packing and allow me to continue to enjoy big hikes in the Rocky Mountains.
As a trainer of llamas, I have come to realize that nothing can compensate for time spent working with them. They have come to know me and trust me and they know what I expect from them. It is impossible to train a llama for every situation you might be confronted with in the field. There are times when we encounter an impasse, obstacle or fear and the llamas will struggle.
I have three tools for helping my llamas move forward through these impasses, obstacles and fears. These tools are also helpful with kids.
Tool 1- Give’m Some Comfort
When a llama or child is struggling with a challenge, give’m some comfort. When my llamas are anxious, they will make a mewing sound. To help calm them and give them some courage, I will wrap my arm around their neck and talk soft to them. Often, after just a few moments of comforting, they are ready to go again.
Tool 2- Re-frame the Obstacle
Sometimes a llama or child will be in a new situation faced with an obstacle they have never encountered before and this will make them freeze or resist. When my llamas freeze up or resist occasionally, I try to re-frame the obstacle so they can overcome it. For example, if the llama is anxious about jumping over a giant log, I will walk the llama in circles so they aren’t focusing so much on the obstacle and then I will move quickly to cross the log. Before they know it, the obstacle is conquered.
Tool 3- Gotta Move Now
Occasionally a llama or child will resist directions at an incredibly inconvenient moment. I have been on hikes with my llamas where we are on a dangerous part of a trail with little room to do anything but move forward. Turning around, giving comfort or re-framing the obstacle is not an option. I have trained my llamas with the command “Hep Hep!” along with a stern tug of the lead which means, “WE’VE GOTTA MOVE NOW!” Because they trust me, they’ll follow me.
As parents, we are often confronted with our children’s challenges. They look to us to help them navigate the obstacles of life. There is no substitute for quality time spent with our kids, this is how they learn to trust us, love us and understand what is expected. Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation with our kids that needs resolving; it is with wisdom and experience we learn how to apply the tools listed above to the many situations we are confronted with. No one tool works all the time; it is their varied use, along with our love, prayers and patients that help our kids to see us as an invaluable resource in their life.
See Llama Video Below