Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Learning on the Mountain

We had a snowstorm move through town over the weekend and the forecast said we would get 6-12 inches overnight before school this morning.  I fretted and wondered, and decided to cancel Seminary.  When I woke up this morning and saw there was no new snow, I felt a little guilty, but I must admit that I enjoyed putting the younger kids on the bus in my sweatpants.

This weather must have put me in a weird mood all around because last night I also agreed to let Gabe and Seth miss school today to go snowmobiling. John left town Mon. morning and was quite shocked I had agreed to let them go.  Both of them have been doing well in school and are always busy with sports. I know it is important to be dedicated to attending class (a lesson I didn't understand well in college), but there is this General Conference talk a while back that really struck me and influenced my parenting thought processes.  It was a talk by Larry Y. Wilson called Only Upon the Principles of Righteousness and it encourages parents to help their children make their own good choices. A standout paragraph for me was:
Our children are in our homes for a limited time. If we wait until they walk out the door to turn over to them the reins of their moral agency, we have waited too long. They will not suddenly develop the ability to make wise decisions if they have never been free to make any important decisions while in our homes. Such children often either rebel against this compulsion or are crippled by an inability to make any decisions on their own.
I know that not everyone may see a direct correlation between this quote and snowmobiling, but I have been trying to let my boys make more decisions and do more things on their own.  I let them know that I expected grades to be maintained.  I also reminded them that to have the privilege to play, your work at home all had to be done.  It was amazing to me how lovely their rooms were when they let me know Sunday night that they felt like they could manage missing school to take advantage of all the new snowfall.  So Gabe, Seth, and their friend Collin loaded up their sleds on Monday morning and headed up to the Lemon Reservoir area (not far from Collin's home) to spend the day.  As I bid them farewell I also reminded them to get home with plenty of daylight to be able to put all of the gear away and clean the truck, leaving it better than they had found it.

To say they were excited is a bit of an understatement.  They drove out towing the snowmobile trailer with huge grins on their faces.  I didn't hear from them until late that afternoon.  Gabe walked in the house looking very tired and somewhat subdued.  I quickly asked if everyone was all right and he assured me they were all fine, just tired.  He told me that the trailer had blown out a tire.  And then blown out the spare.  Also, the front ski on his sled had broken off (a major problem) and they had taken a long time to get it down off the mountain.  Snowmobiling is a tiring activity even under the best circumstances, but when you have broken machines, it quickly becomes exhausting. It was easy to see that Gabe was completely worn out.  The boys had managed to successfully load up the sleds onto the crippled trailer, then they just left it there and come home.

Gabe was somewhat surprised when, after consulting with John, he was told that the sleds needed to be retrieved before nightfall.  John had simply told him that we could not leave them there and Gabe & Seth would have to figure out how to get them down.  They called Collins dad to help but (surprise!) he was at work on a Monday.  They ended up enlisting the help of a fourth friend as they literally had to have more muscle to help them lift the broken sled.

Exhausted, the boys got back into the truck and went to pick up their friends and retrieve the sleds.  (This made me grateful for the good friends that are in my boy's lives.) They borrowed a 2 place trailer from Collin and figured they could put the 3rd in the truck bed.  It wasn't too bad loading the good snowmobiles, but unloading and reloading the broken 500lb machine was a very difficult task.  They eventually managed to get all of the machines loaded, and they dropped the borrowed trailer with the two sleds at Collins house and headed home around 9:30.  Our empty trailer with the flat tire is still up at Lemon, but it will have to wait until we can fix the tires.

I am sure that all of those boys slept well after their long day.  I know that Gabe and Seth were surprised when we told them they had to go back up the mountain to retrieve the snowmobiles.  When it all happened, part of me wanted to solve it all for them, but I didn't do anything except express my confidence in their ability to get it done.  John is always around at times like this to fix things, but he was too far away to help them now.  And wouldn't you know it?  They figured out a way to get it taken care of!  And, yes, it was hard for them.  But they did it.  Earth moving? Life changing?  Maybe not.  They didn't choose to have the snowmobile break, but sometimes there are unexpected hardships in life.    Sometimes things don't go as planned.  Will this kind of thing happen again?  Ya, probably.  I am glad I let them skip school today so they could learn this lesson.

Resting on Collins Sled to get
Down the Mountain
Broken A-Arm

Pretty Clever way to drive it out

1 comment:

Kim Hannay said...

I am so proud of those little men! Way to let them work it our on their own. They are pretty smart cookies.

I think it gives them a real self esteem boost to solve a tough problem on their own!