Who would have thought that my young child would be able to teach me, a mature adult, about life? And who would believe that she could do it while we were on ice skates? Sounds like a tall tale or maybe like an embellished story, but it’s the truth and it all happened at a birthday party over the weekend.
Recently, my daughter and I attended an ice skating birthday party of a dear friend. Ice-skating is not something that she and I do regularly. In fact, my daughter had only ice-skated once before, and I have only ice-skated a handful of times and maybe only once in the past three years. Needless to say, we are not very good. But that didn’t stop us, especially her. My daughter worked her darndest to stay right side up and enjoy her time with her friends on the ice rink. While skating, she also managed to teach me a few things about how to handle everyday life.
Here is what I learned from a day spent with my daughter on the ice rink:
If you fall down, you get right back up. My daughter probably fell down at least twenty times during the hour and a half that we skated. Do you know what she did each and every time she fell? She stood right back up on her two feet, she dusted the ice off of her pants and she got herself moving again. What strength it takes to struggle, but keep going. What strength it takes to not let obstacles stop you from reaching your destination. What strength it takes to ignore any possible embarrassment your mishap could have caused you. I’m telling you, she is truly amazing.
When you fall, try to do it gracefully, but when you don’t, just laugh it off. As I stated above, she fell, and she fell a lot. But, do you know what she did when she fell? She braced herself to make sure that she didn’t fall flat on her face. Sometimes she even managed to turn a wobbly fall into a split or a kneeling-style dance move. And oh, those few times that she was unable to pull off a balletic fall, she laughed. What fortitude it takes to rid yourself of doubt, to not be afraid to laugh at yourself and to take life, and your imperfections, less seriously. I want to be like her; someone who ceases to amaze herself and others.
Put one foot in front of the other and just keep going. It seems so simple right, to “just keep going”, or as Dory would say to “just keep swimming”. But, that is not easy. It is actually really hard. However, if you don’t look too far ahead, and you simply focus on the next step (the one right in front of you) it makes the journey seem less daunting and you will have more courage to continue to press forward.
Find support from the things and people around you. During our skating session, my daughter frequently relied on my helping hand, her friends, and the rink wall for stability. Not only did these people and things provide her with actual physical support, but they also provided her with a sense of security that, in the event she needed help, a support system was in place to come to her aid.
Joy and exhilaration can be found when you let go. In our house, Frozen has been super popular. We regularly quote “Let It Go” and it has kind of become somewhat of a mantra in our home. Well, my daughter chose to skate according to this mantra as well. Every few minutes she would ask me to “let go” of her hand, or she would voluntarily “let go” of the wall that was helping to brace her. By doing so, she experienced pure gratification and elation by independently succeeding at something, even if just for a short while.
Fear has no power over you. My daughter was nervous — I could tell it in her eyes and in her body language. However, she did not let it cripple or overpower her. How important it is for all people to feel confident enough to pursue their passions, their hopes, and their dreams. Don’t let fear cripple your ideas, crush your experiences, inhibit you in any way, or stall your growth or your successes.
A strong mind is just as important as physical strength. My daughter is strong — literally, she is all muscle, from head to toe. However, her physical strength and flexibility is not what helped her the most to skate. Alternatively, it was her strength of mind and her determination to make the most out of this experience that enabled her to successfully participate in this birthday party. Too often we convince ourselves that we are incapable of something based on our size, or any real or merely perceived handicaps that we have. This needs to stop, because the truth is that strength starts and stops with our mind.
Wow. Pretty crazy, right? Crazy that a six-year-old, on ice skates, was able to provide me with necessary reminders on how to succeed at this thing called life. I think that I am going to instruct her to start charging for her services — of course not me, but everyone else for sure. It’s never too early to instill the entrepreneurial spirit in our children, right?