Soul Development

Hello Friends-

My note today will probably be a bit brief, as I spent all day Friday up on the slopes of Catamount Mountain with the Upstairs students, and their parents and teachers. Our ski trips have begun, and we are looking forward to three more trips packed with fun, bonding, and what I like to call “soul development”- working on life-long lessons of perseverance, grit and determination. It’s worth mentioning that I and many of the parents were working on some of the same lessons as we lugged ski equipment, tested our back strength by doggedly lifting our children up off the slopes over and over again, and patiently handled the highly volatile moments in which our little ones were on the edge of a melt down…

I am so proud of the wonder kids who spent their day fighting their sense of fear, frustration and despondency on the bunny hill yesterday. I watched a girl and a boy swooshing down, and remembered that both of them had spent their first day of skiing last year in near tears, threatening to never, ever come skiing again! And yet, here they both were with huge grins gliding down the hill. The boy gave me a thumbs up as he went by, and later informed me excitedly “Ben, I went down six times without falling!!” One first-time snowboarder was ready to give up, but agreed to try “just one more run”. An hour later she was still on the slope plugging away at it. Another student spent nearly the whole day holding her parent's hand on the way up the lift and down the slope. And yet she stayed out the whole afternoon, never giving up.

Towards the end of the day, I was riding up the lift behind one of our snowboarding students. We were watching another student point his board down the hill, and make his way triumphantly down to the bottom. He raised his arms in victory at the accomplishment, not realizing we had seen his run. Suddenly in front of me I heard an 8 year-old voice yell out, unprompted- “Great Job Armondo!!!”. I’m not sure anyone could see the huge grin of pride and respect for both boys that grew over my face as I finished my lift ride to the top.

As we started to wind down our ski trip yesterday, a rainbow suddenly appeared, seemingly for no reason, at the top of the mountain. I had never seen anything like it, and it perfectly encapsulated a wonderful trip.

Be well,

Ben


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