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#ELBlog #150: The Glove, The Walk, The Lesson
I love being a parent! I think it is the ultimate display of love, dedication, commitment, leadership, etc. all rolled into one. I idolized my parents growing up, and have been blessed to also have the best in-laws ever. So, I have some tremendous role models.
Winter is (was) upon us and my family has recently fallen in love with skiing. We are new to it as I used to officiate college basketball and didn’t have the time for it. Nor was I ready to risk my knees and other extremities to ski.
Now, we love it and try to take every opportunity we can to hit the slopes. Last winter, my daughter did the dreaded glove drop from the lift! She was about 200 yards from the exit of the lift and accidentally dropped her glove. It was a really nice Carhartt ski glove too. Luckily her friend had a thin pair to loan her so she was able to continue skiing, but she came to me apologizing and felt bad about the accident.
So here it is? Here is the moment? What do we do as parents? Is this the hard lesson that you lost the glove and it’s your responsibility? Do you have to pay to replace it? Do you have to ski with one little glove? What to do? I know there’s no perfect answer. Each scenario, each child, and each family dynamic are all a little different. My mom and dad always taught me you do the best you can for your children and make the best decisions you think are right.
While none of these were extremely stressful decisions nor controversial. The answer came very clearly to me. I decided I would go get it for her. I did this for several reasons:
1. Don’t give up on things too easy. While it was pretty far down the hill, it was not impossible. She thought the glove was gone forever. In this case forever was really just about 20 minutes.
2. An uphill climb is not impossible: but it was very steep. As you’re coming up the lift you think, oh my god there’s no way I could ever walk that. However I wanted to model for my children that there will be uphill climbs and when you have them, just go face them. I put one foot in front of the other and up I went.
3. They were blowing snow! It was late in the evening and they were starting to blow snow for the next day. I wanted to model for my children that once again anything is possible. Walking through the whipping blowing snow to do something for my child? Yup. I found it a bit extreme, but I thought it was important to model that it really wasn’t that big of a deal, and when you put your mind to something you can do it.
4. Disposable society: I feel very much that we live in a disposable society. Lose something? Just order another one? Broke it? With the click of a button in your hand, you can just replace it on Amazon within seconds. It will probably be delivered to your door the next day, so there is not a lot of effort to replace things. It just takes a little money. Sadly that image and feeling of taking money out of your wallet and handing it to someone over the counter is gone with the click of the button. A child does not feel the loss of petty money for something they lost. I would have made her pay for new ones, but is there a lesson in that? I’m not sure what she will remember. Paying $25 for new ski gloves, or that her dad was willing to walk down the mountainside to get something she dropped by accident. I chose the latter.
As parents, educators, and leaders, we have to make these types of decisions all the time. I believe there are lessons, stories, and memories in all that we choose to do. It was a choice to walk up and down the mountain and get the glove. While we can never reap the rewards of making good decisions, I feel confident it was the right one. As we arrived home that evening Claire burst into the kitchen and yelled mom, guess what dad did? He walked up and down the mountain and got my glove.
I know there will be times where we need to let those things go and let our children suffer the consequences of their errors and choices. That’s part of life. That’s part of growing up. I remember those lessons vividly today from my childhood and I’m grateful to my parents for having the fortitude to leave us be, to let us fail, and to let us feel the pain.
At that moment, I chose to get the glove. The story has already grown in so many ways and in just a month’s time, it went from about 200 yards to almost 2 miles down the hill. I smile when I reflect on it and just hope that I continue to have the fortitude to make great decisions for my family and in my role as a School Leader. I wish the same for you in your journey. #KeepRolling
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