I have been sledding more in the past three weeks than in the past three years. My excuse: two boys ages six and five and three feet of snow around Washington DC.
It was just in the past year that my boys graduated from our neighborhood sled hill to the ‘big kids’ sled hill just a couple of miles from our home. With the new sled hill comes more speed, more risk, and the ultimate goal of making it down the hill with enough momentum to make it up a small dirt mound to sled down a second hill for another drop off into a frozen creek bed.
After one of the recent snow storms I found myself standing at the top of the big kids’ hill with 40 or so other parents as Evan (my six year old) worked to maintain his momentum and make it down the second hill. It truly is amazing to see the persistence of a little boy who is focused on reaching a goal. It was exciting to see him try new things, shifting his weight, looking for the perfect line, and learning to steer. After what seemed like forever it all started to come together… the perfect run. After giving him pointers and watching him for so long I was beyond excited as he started up the dirt mound, I just started yelling “GO EVAN! GO EVAN!” As he crested the second half of the hill I raised my arms as if our team was somehow the newly crowned sled hill champions. I was letting out a final “YES!” just in time to see the top of a tree at the bottom of the hill shake from the impact of Evan running into it.
I’ve been there before. More than once I have been so focused on a goal that I have lost sight of what happens next. I somehow think that if I just reach this one goal everything else will just come together. Instead as I have grown up I have begun to realize that life is the goal. Sometimes to achieve true success we have to look outside of this day’s, week’s, or even year’s goals and remember what is really important. For me I have come to realize that my personal successes pale in comparison to relationships, laughter and friendship. It isn’t that our goals are bad; rather it is that we need to look at them in light of true success. When we do this we will find that the journey to reaching our goals is much more enjoyable, and the success once we are there will be that much sweeter.