I started snowboarding when I was 16 years old. I had never skied or really did anything in the snow with the exception of some sledding in my younger years. I could tell you horror stories about my first year learning to ride a snowboard, but in time… I began to get more comfortable and now it’s been over 15 years that I’ve been riding.
My 6 year old daughter Adelynn got her first snowboard when she was 3. I bought her a little board and boots and her dad took her out on the hill for the first time in the winter of 2016. The girl was fearless. She didn’t over analyze riding at all. She wasn’t worried about being sore the next morning. In fact, her boots were so big on her, they held her legs and feet in place like she was mounted in concrete. She looked like she was born to ride a snowboard!
This past weekend, my husband, Adelynn and I spent the afternoon on the face of Mount Snow in southern Vermont. I learn so much from this little girl.
We rode the chairlift to the peak of the mountain… not really playing with the idea of the “bunny hill”. It took about an hour but we finally got down to the base with Adelynn. We went slow and she spent a lot of time sliding down on her butt.
One thing that was made very obvious to me was that my little girl was no longer as confident as she was when she was only 3 years old. She doubted herself a lot. We’d try to help her turn her board direction and her initial response was “I Can’t!” Over and over and over those poisonous words flowed out of her mouth. Finally I got wise to what was happening in front of me. She needed to tell herself she COULD do this. I told her… ‘Adelynn, every time you want to say “I can’t do this” you have to tell yourself “I can do this”.‘ She began to take my advice and we got to the base a little quicker as her self confidence began to come back.
Isn’t that the way it goes? The older we get, the more we doubt ourselves. The world around us will show us that we may need to be knocked down a peg or two. We are told by well meaning friends that things don’t really work out that way, or that we “shouldn’t get our hopes up”. We begin to ask who we really are to be good at something, we begin to fall, we lose our way and we second guess … wondering why we ever thought we could do this in the first place.
After we finished conquering the face of Mount Snow we brought Adelynn down to a smaller hill where she was more fluid and more confident. We praised her and she began to see with her own eyes that this was something fun that she in fact COULD do! I was 16 the first time I strapped into a snowboard and I learned the same lesson that my daughter learned a decade sooner.
I do my best riding when I have cheerful talk in my head, when I’m feeling playful on the mountain, when I tell myself “Sarah, you’ve GOT THIS!”
It’s a brand new year… let’s start reminding ourselves that we are totally capable of having/doing/being the person that we dare dream of.
We CAN DO THIS.