Monday, February 15, 2010

Learning by Example

We are in Canmore for the Valentines/Family Day weekend. It's gorgeous here in the heart of the Rocky mountains, with a light dusting of snow covering the ground this morning like icing sugar. The temperature is mild and we spent the day yesterday in Banff, having an impromptu restaurant lunch, an afternoon Starbucks latte, and a visit to the candy store for Pez dispensers which made both kids as happy as could be. It's a beautiful thing to putter with no real agenda. We walked in and out of the pricey boutiques, oohing and aahing over items and praying William wouldn't break anything we'd have to pay for. We brought my mom with us, and it's always so fun to watch grandparents hanging out with their grandkids. We just found out that Jason's mom, sister and her baby are coming in early March to meet us at this resort in Canmore for a weekend visit, so that's something else to circle on the calendar and look forward to.

We had an hour or so to kill before check-in time, so we drove up to Mount Norquay just outside of Banff to show the kids the ski hill. Jason took Ava to Calgary Olympic Park on Saturday for her first-ever snowboard lesson. Over New Years at Jason's family's cabin Ava stood up on the toboggan and took numerous rides, yelling, "Look at me snowboard!" so we figured the time had come to get her on a real snowboard and see how she liked it. She loved it, as we both knew she would. It was fun for her to see lots of snowboarders yesterday at Norquay, whizzing down the mountain and coming to a stop beside us. My mom used to ski a lot and expressed her longing to get back onto the mountain. I realized that I used to love doing it too, but damn my perfectionistic personality that always wants to be the best at everything. The idea that I haven't skiied in a long time and won't excel at it has a tendency to stop me. Here I am trying to inspire my kids to try new things, telling them that they have to practice something new over and over again to improve at it, and yet I find it so hard to take my own advice.

I have already seen Ava struggling with this, wanting to quit something that she hasn't mastered yet, and I see myself; my own fear. It is much easier to teach Ava to persevere through something she is afraid of than do it myself. I must push myself to try things I am not good at, for that is the only way I will learn. And I don't have to be the best at everything. We are determined to go skiing as a family next year. I suppose I have the next 9 months or so to work on my attitude, to accept that perfection is not the goal. Risk is. Trying new things, being open to new experiences. I must model this for my kids so it becomes natural to me. Children learn much better from example than from words.


  1. My husband started taking our girls skiing this year. They are out at Mount Norquay today! They are doing so well. I've seen the videos and realize that they are now better than me (trying jumps and everything). I also struggle with not wanting to do something if I am not good at it (the best, actually). But I have decided that next winter (I can't really ski this winter with a baby strapped to my breasts), I will swallow my pride and let my girls teach me few things on the slopes. See you there!
    Lindsay Howard

  2. Sounds good, Lindsay! We'll challenge each other to overcome our perfectionism. I don't doubt that the skills of my kids will quickly surpass mine, and I'll work on being okay with that....hope Daniel and the girls enjoy skiing today - the weather is gorgeous here!

  3. Your kids won't know that you aren't the greatest on skis- what they will remember is that they had a great time skiing with both their mom and dad!