Recently I had a lifelong dream come true — I went skiing with my kids. You see, growing up I have amazing memories of skiing with my family. Since we lived in Illinois, possibly the flattest state in all of America, we had to drive several hours just to go skiing. Our favorite trips were ones that took several days to make it all the way out to Colorado. On those trips, we would ski our legs off, and boy was it fun. We were young and fearless, and soon we could tackle any ski course you could throw our way.
Fast-forward to this year. Rebecca and Anna went on a two-day ski trip with their junior-high school class, getting lessons and a lot of practice in. They came back chomping at the bit to go skiing. I knew my good friend John takes his boys skiing at least once a year, so we planned a special one-night family trip, him with his boys and me with my girls. I was very curious to see how well the girls were doing. And the girls were ready for a vacation! Little did I know just how special this trip would be for all of us.
You see, skiing is great, but it’s what skiing does that’s truly important. Learning to ski is a big challenge. Every bit of progress takes determination, a positive attitude and overcoming fear. But as progress is made, you start to believe in yourself. That you can do this. That you can conquer your fears and the challenge. The experience becomes an incredible bonding experience. And with my girls now teenagers, it’s so important to constantly be connecting with them.
I know that a ski trip is not exactly an educational or spiritual trip so to speak, but being able to connect with my teenage daughters on a deep level, learning new skills and making memories — that to me is absolutely priceless. It’s these kinds of moments that give you relational credit that will help when you get back to everyday life.
Life is wonderful, but it’s easy to lose sight of how wonderful it is. My prayer is that I don’t lose the wonder of life, and I don’t lose sight of how purposeful a life lived well can be. But a life lived well will certainly result in a healthy family with good relationships. No amount of success is worth losing any family members over. Things like work and school are temporary. Even the longest careers will at some point end. But family doesn’t end — it goes on and on. Even after we are gone, our family and descendants live on! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the most important work there is is family.
And here I set out to write about a ski trip. But it’s not about the skiing after all.