We walk around the bleachers, all the way around the American flag, all the way over to the bull gate, and there is a lady that tells us how this works. “Okay, kids, here is what you do, now you just get on the sheep, the sheep takes off, and you’ll fall off, but don’t worry, the whole arena is sand. It’s like a big giant sandbox. This is fun.” My kids are not buying it. Now they know how to do this in Texas, Oklahoma, and Canada but in Minnesota, they are just learning. Because those kids would get on the sheep, they would sit on there like this, the sheep would take off, and the kids would fall off. I had seen this before.
Vanessa, she’s one of the last to go, and I said: “Vanessa, you can’t do it like that. You’ve got to wrap your dangly 8-year-old legs around the belly, you’ve got to pinch your heels as tight as you can. Vanessa, you can’t sit up like this, you’ve got to lay down, velcro your belly to the wool, wrap your arms around the neck, and dig your fingers into the wool, and whatever you do Vanessa, don’t let go.” I’m a great Dad.
They opened the bull gate, and that sheep takes off. People are saying: “Look at the little girl –“ Can you believe a little – you know what sheep does, that runs all the way across the arena, to the far corner, where all the sheep gathered to dump off their kids, that’s what sheep do, they gather together and laugh. First sheep that it sees, it butts it in the side. BAM. She screams, but she holds on. Sheep doesn’t know what to do, so it takes off around the arena. She’s a little bit sideways now, but, second time around the arena, Verndale, Minnesota — 2,000 people standing up, screaming, and cheering. Stoic Norwegian has a tear, it’s his granddaughter.
Third time around the arena, the clowns come out. “Little girl, you can let go now. You can –“ She will not let go. Finally, they get the sheep stopped in the corner, but she won’t get off. The announcer didn’t know what to do, 2,000 people screaming, and cheering. The rodeo Queens is getting off her perch, walking toward the middle with a trophy for the kid that lasted the longest. But, she won’t get off.
“Is there a Dad here?” I’ll never forget it. I walked out into that arena, I walked over to my daughter, I picked up my daughter, 2,000 people stay screaming, and cheering, and I will never forget what she said in my ear: ‘”Dad, why did the clown say: ‘Let go.’? You said ‘Never let go.'” I’m grateful she trusted me, but she also trusted herself, and as important, she knew who not to trust. Don’t trust clowns, they’re scary.
Trust is a choice. Every single time you choose it, or choose against it, it has benefits or consequences. Imagine what would happen, if you could be that person, that was trusted by everybody, every time. Yet what do we know? Organizations don’t get better, countries don’t get better. Individuals get better. But when one person becomes more trustworthy, then a family, a community, a country can get better.
So what’s trust got to do with it? Everything.