This post was originally written in 2009 and never published. I am pleased to say that my kids have matured a bit and are now better at conflict resolution.
As you can tell, I love and adore my children. My husband does too. We are doting parents, but we are not blind parents. We would never tell you that our children are perfect. In fact, having two boys, we pretty much expect that if anything is going wrong, they probably instigated something, which instigated something else, which led to a huge explosion involving all the children in the immediate vicinity.
Kids Want to Ski With Kids
Last season was our first season without racing in several and our kids quickly became bored skiing with THE PARENTS all day, everyday. They wanted to be around their peers. Kids love to ski with other kids and parents love to ski with other parents. Riding a chairlift is social time and skiing is a sport well suited to being shared with others. We were as eager as our kids to find some other free-ride families. If we had run an ad it might have read:
WANTED: Ski-Obsessed Family. Must be willing to brave strong winds, bitter cold and driving snow with a smile and huge enthusiasm. Early mornings a must. Must have all mountain ability and a willingness to stop for only 15 minutes for lunch. Availability from late November through April a plus.
We are always excited when we find other families that love to ski. When we found a family with two boys and parents whom we like, we thought we’d hit the jackpot. The boys had similar skills. What we didn’t learn until this past year however is that similar skill levels don’t necessarily translate into similar ski styles, and this oversight led to a fist fight on Aspen Mountain. Yes, you read that right – a fist fight.
Good Kids Can And Will Make Mistakes
Now I want to make it clear that the other kids involved are good kids. My kids are good kids. But even good, intelligent kids can get overwrought about skiing. There is something about skiing that can make even the most sober adult overwrought if there is fresh powder and she can’t get out there because someone is taking too much time in the bathroom (for example).
In any case, it was a gorgeous late January day and when the kids asked if they could take some runs by themselves, we gave them free rein, with the caveat that they check in by cell phone every hour. By the end of the day, we had dealt by phone with a lost child, a hurt child and two boys in a fist fight.
Apparently, one family of boys prefers fast groomers and one family of boys prefers steep moguls and glades. The kids came up with a pretty darn good plan: they each took turns choosing a run. The problem was, when the last boy got his turn to pick, another boy vetoed his choice.
Moguls Versus Groomers
Thus, a mogul guy and a groomer guy took it to blows. There were tears and accusations, but the next day at school they apologized and moved on – handling their disagreement in a much less dramatic fashion than most adults would have done. They’ve skied a bit more together, but never unsupervised, and there have been no further incidents. They still don’t like to ski the same terrain, but they are friends again.
Like every moment in life, this was a learning experience. We learned that these 12 year olds are too young to be unsupervised for several hours at a ski resort. We learned that these kids are not yet mature enough to handle disagreement and dissent. We also learned that sharing a love of skiing doesn’t guarantee compatibility and, believe me, if we ever do run an ad for another ski family, we learned that it will need to include the following.
Strong people skills, including the ability to negotiate and compromise required. Dedication to steep and deep moguls preferred.
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