I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. ~e.e. cummings

We were in Breckenridge for our second annual Spring Break ski trip.

Dan and I both have dreamed of our kids learning to ski so that we could share mountain love with them for a long time to come. It feels like an investment. An investment in time together, in shared experiences, in learning a skill that can be enjoyed for life, and in the hopes of future time together doing something we all love (god willing, in every part of that last fragment).

Another reason it feels like an investment is that it is hard.  It’s hard to get to the mountains, hard to get to the slope with all of that gear, hard to learn to ski, hard to ski without getting hurt, hard, hard, hard.

But, oh, the beautiful snow.

And oh, the blue sky.

And the pool after a long day of skiing.

And living the dream.

And a brother and sister bonding.

And the friends, the dear friends.  Thank you Spittals for sharing some of Spring Break with us!

And watching Pooh bear do her thing.

And watching Mackey ski off!

I think a lot about how many privileges we have and, given that, how can we make sure that our kids will learn how to work hard and appreciate things and be kind and giving. Essentially, how do we avoid creating spoiled brats. It seems like that all plays out while we ski.

For example, we signed the kids up for two days of ski school. $790. While wearing another $790 in ski gear. And staying in a beautiful condo for millions of dollars a night. Ok, not really that much on the condo, but get the point? Huge privilege, right? I had my first two (and last two) ski lessons at age 26, paid for by moi.

On the way to ski school, they both cried and wailed and acted like we were taking them to the city dump to scrounge for their meals for the rest of their lives. And at first, I felt for them. It’s a new place, high on top of a mountain, where they don’t know anyone, and where they have to work to put Sonny Bono out of their mind coming down the hill.

And then it hit me that if their attitude didn’t change, I’d be skiing all day with a 5 and 7 year old, instead of with the Hubble on a ski date. And they don’t even know who Sonny Bono is, so what do they have to worry about.

At same time, I realized that this HUGE PRIVILEGE was an opportunity for them to dig deep. Both Dan and I launched into a hour long YOU CAN DO IT speech. I said some prayers. We gave some lectures. We offered two bribes. And we found the place in their heart where god lives so he could get them through ski school if they couldn’t do it themselves.

And they did it and had a great time. And more importantly, they got better at skiing.  Cha-ching.  Investment paying off.

So later when I was trying not to die coming down the mountain 4x slower than everyone else in our group (which included people from 3 to 70 years old, but remember poor old me who didn’t ever really learn to ski?)…

I thought about privilege and spoiledness.  It came to me that no matter how many privileges our family has (don’t get me wrong, we aren’t swimming in money by any stretch, but I still feel like we are quite privileged) we can still work really, really, really hard and stretch ourselves and deeply appreciate things and be sure to be kind and giving. Ultimately, being privileged isn’t essentially the cause of spoiledness, is it? I’m wondering if it has more to do with not learning to work through challenges, not being expected to contribute your part, forgetting how good you have it, and not working on showing gratitude?

Here’s the deal: this is about me struggling with when to let my kids off the hook, when to say yes and when to say no, and when to give them consequences that they will really hate because they have really not done their part. And perhaps that has nothing to do with how many or few privileges we have.  Probably has more to do with me digging deep, than anything.

I want them to have privileges. To experience a life where they understand there are always options, always love and fun to be had, and that to whom much has been given, much will be expected. We have a lot, in no doing of our own, and for that we have to do our parts. I think we did this time, and we’ll keep trying!

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