Jackie Gingrich Cushman

It's interesting what drives people toward their goals. For some, it is fame, fortune or celebrity. For others, it's personal achievement, parents pushing or peer pressure that has been internalized. Some seem to have no drive at all -- there is no fire in their belly, no reason to work hard and reach goals. While it's good to be driven to make progress, it's also important that what drives you does not consume you, or those around you.

This past week, my husband Jimmy was driven by love of family to reach his goal of snowboarding down the mountain. Told that it would take three days before he would be able to go down the mountain with us, Jimmy, always up for a challenge, accomplished it in one day so that we could ski down together at the end of the day.

Last week was spring break for our children. After campaigning through the first weekend of the break and Super Tuesday (celebrating a win in Georgia), we packed up and left for a few days of skiing.

Last year was our first family ski vacation. Having only skied one other time, 20 years before, and not very well, I was terribly apprehensive about going last year. The trip was relatively successful, however. I skied greens primarily (the easiest slopes) and one blue (the next level), probably by accident. I enjoyed the fresh air and, most importantly, did not get hurt.

Last year's trip reminded me of several important life lessons. Learning includes instruction, frustration, falling, persistence, patience, practice, improvement and providence. It's not easy to learn, and it requires real work. Throughout the process, it also helps to understand the role providence plays. As much as we humans (speaking for myself) would like to control the process and outcome, the reality is that not everything is under our control, and we have to let go and leave it to God.

It is a hard lesson that I have to keep learning.

As hard as skiing is, snowboarding appears to be much harder. Instead of two skis, you strap a board to your shoes and ski/surf down the mountain using your legs, core and balance. Most snowboarders are young and hip. They fly down the mountain weaving in and out of the skiers. The average age appears to be half my current age.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.