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Death of the Shaped Ski - Page 3

post #61 of 85
Quote:
Originally posted by oboe:
... the terminal intermediate from Vermont...
I put it to you, sir, that by calling yourself by the above phrase, you are casting aspersions on the ability of the aforementioned
Quote:
Originally posted by oboe:
PSIA Examiner from Montana
Namely in that she provided insight and instruction at the highest possible level to move the patient from Vermont off the "terminal" list, off the critical list, in fact to the point that the patient is no longer requiring medication.
Now, if the patient from Vermont has refused to act on the expert advice given during the Utah consultation, then I believe that the case may indeed revert to being terminal, but purely due to the intransigence of the patient to accept the advice of our learned friend.

One will only be a terminal intermediate when one REFUSES to learn further.

S
post #62 of 85
Quote:
the principles of high level carving had have not changed from the days of long radius skis, and changing those principles in an effort to differentiate from old teaching models only serves to make the new teaching models less legitimate.
Very well said, FastMan! The principles of high-level carving remain the same. The fact that few people, including many instructors, employed, understood, or taught these principles in the past does not mean that they did not exist! And the fact that "high level carving" is not the only thing we need on skis remains as true as ever also!

Quote:
And here is the thing that really has me concerned. There are instructors out there that have developed carving in their own skiing via these quick track methods and now belief these techniques represent sound carving principles. Promoting these ideas to the public as representing the epitome of high level carving will only contribute to the terminal intermediate syndrome in our students, just as it does to the skill levels of the lower level instructors who embrace them.
Also well said!

So--how does someone from a place called "Palm City" have such a sound grip on the essence of good skiing and teaching?



Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #63 of 85
Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado:
[QUOTE
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> And here is the thing that really has me concerned. There are instructors out there that have developed carving in their own skiing via these quick track methods and now belief these techniques represent sound carving principles. Promoting these ideas to the public as representing the epitome of high level carving will only contribute to the terminal intermediate syndrome in our students, just as it does to the skill levels of the lower level instructors who embrace them.
Also well said!

So--how does someone from a place called "Palm City" have such a sound grip on the essence of good skiing and teaching?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
</font>[/quote]Bob, and any other examiner/instructor-How do we as instructors get across to our students that the quick track method is not as efficient? When someone pays for a lesson, they often want quick results. We typically have students for a short length of time. Part of that time is a movement analysis, trying to figure out what is causing the student to turn the way they are, trying to figure out what techniques or drills there are to improve on that, and then gearing that lesson towards what the student wants. Then the lesson is over. It seems that there is never is enough time.

A problem has been identified in this thread. What suggestions do you have to correct this ever going problem?
post #64 of 85
Quote:
How do we as instructors get across to our students that the quick track method is not as efficient? When someone pays for a lesson, they often want quick results
Ah, but you ask great questions, Jimbo! We could discuss this one all summer, and still not come up with the definitive answer. But one of the principles of our Guest Centered Teaching (TM) model comes to mind: it is the job of the instructor to give the students what they believe they want, but also to educate them as to what ELSE they MIGHT want!

Surely, we can wage war against the perpetuation of destructive skiing myths. Those who tout "parallel" as equivalent to "expert" (and any wedge as akin to evil), and those who suggest that good skiing involves nothing more than tipping and being taken for a ride, those who suggest that you can become an expert in a day or two--if you follow their program and forsake all others--should be flogged. Those who teach shortcuts to mediocrity should be revealed and reviled as the self-serving charlatans that they are!

All right, it's getting late. You've struck a nerve!

Quote:
But what does it take to make a person a good pilot?
I know nothing about flying, so that's an easier question to answer! I saw what I think must be the ultimate words of wisdom for pilots--and others--on a tattered old poster on the wall of the airport hanger somewhere in Canada's arctic:

"The superior pilot is the one who, through the use of his superior judgement, minimizes the need for his superior skills."

How's that?



Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #65 of 85
Thread Starter 
jimbo [quote]

Fastman-I hope I did not sound like a bowl of sour owl dung with my reply.

==================================

FASTMAN:
Not at all Jimbo, I thought your comments were right on target.

JIMBO:
So I agree with most of what was developed in this thread. My real challenge lies ahead, in trying to still help develop some of the basic foundation in skiing skills with my students.

So how do we now start moving the students out of the intermediate phase, who just want to carve, and are not patient enough to try to understand the basics? I try to throw some of the basics into every advanced lesson, but sometimes some people do not care. Help! Any suggestions out there?

FASTMAN:
So this is the heart of the issue, isn't it. The question is should we be the good parent and make our kids (students) eat their vegetables because we know better than they that what they crave may not be what is actually in their best interest? Or do we play the role of grandma and cater to the youngsters whims?

From the standpoint of effective skill development there is only one right answer, isn't there. Be a leader. These students are paying good money to learn to ski and are looking to us to show them the path. The people with an understanding of the principles of goal achievement will realize that success walks hand in hand with dedication, commitment and hard work, and will be willing to make the effort and follow our lead. Those that don't have an understanding of these principles, or don't have an intense desire to improve may stray away, but in reality their mental makeup would never have afforded them the opportunity to succeed anyway.

The conflict comes from the business side of ski instruction. The resort would obviously desire us to adopt the grandma approach and just keep the kids happy and wanting to come back to visit over and over. This approach is good for the bottom line, but at what cost to the serious student? And it begs the question: just why did you become a ski instructor, to teach or to pamper? I'm sure there are some SSD reading this and shuddering at what affect such thinking could have on student numbers. Sorry, but I think it's a legitimate question for every instructor to query upon themselves. Their motivation for being here is certainly not financial so I would suspect that a more meaningful purpose draws them here, as it did me to coaching. The surprise result may be the impact assuming the role of strong leader has on your students confidence in you and on their willingness to follow you.

So if in fact we do choose to assume the strong leader role, what direction should we lead in order to quide our students to new heights? Do we wish to discuss this?

[quote]Originally posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado:
Very well said, FastMan!

So--how does someone from a place called "Palm City" have such a sound grip on the essence of good skiing and teaching?

FASTMAN:
Thanks Bob. Based on what I have come to know of your own knowledge of the sport your compliment carries much weight with me.

To answer your question, it comes from a past life that involved an intense 40 year love affair with the sport. Skiing/racing provided me with so much, it raised me and took me around the world, that I made a career out of coaching and spent 20 years helping others discover the gifts the sport had bestowed upon me. This forum has allowed me to keep in contact with the sport I love and provide some ideas to others while I await my inevitable return to the mountains and the love I left behind.

[ May 05, 2003, 12:20 AM: Message edited by: FastMan ]
post #66 of 85
This thread should be called "How the Leopards changed their spots".
post #67 of 85
i like that book!
post #68 of 85
[quote]Originally posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado:
[QB]
Quote:
How do we as instructors get across to our students that the quick track method is not as efficient? When someone pays for a lesson, they often want quick results
Ah, but you ask great questions, Jimbo! We could discuss this one all summer, and still not come up with the definitive answer. But one of the principles of our Guest Centered Teaching (TM) model comes to mind: it is the job of the instructor to give the students what they believe they want, but also to educate them as to what ELSE they MIGHT want!

All right, it's getting late. You've struck a nerve!

Quote:
But what does it take to make a person a good pilot?
I know nothing about flying, so that's an easier question to answer! I saw what I think must be the ultimate words of wisdom for pilots--and others--on a tattered old poster on the wall of the airport hanger somewhere in Canada's arctic:

"The superior pilot is the one who, through the use of his superior judgement, minimizes the need for his superior skills."

How's that?



In tresponse to your first quote, Is there a PSIA clinic that deals specifically with the issues developed in this thread? If so, what is it? If not, then let's develop one! How about a course title called "Back To Basics?" Any comments?

Good quote on the pilot skills. This can also be applied to other professions. Also, never be afraid to learn. Never be afraid to admit that you do not know it all. Always be willing to learn, and to be willing to listen to different viewpoints. Be willing to take off the blinders. If someone wants a differnt ski clinic, try taking one from milt Bends (spelling). He will definitely take your blinders off!

It seems that the more I delve into ski instruction, the more I realize how little I really know. : I would like to continue this topic, all summer as you suggested it might take. I also think the real challenge still lies as in Fastman's comments. Are we going to be the favorite grandparent and give the students what they want, or the good parent and give them what they need? How do we be both? Can we do both? How do we be loyal to the client, and also to the company we work for? Is that possible? Should we take what has developed here and start another thread? Do I ask too many questions?
post #69 of 85
Fastman-Now that I know about your past history as a ski coach, I have several questions. How do you continually motivate your skiers who already know they are good (or think they are good)? How do you make good skiers/ski racers better? Have you ever written a book or publications on your past skiing life? If so what are they? In my short time in this Barking Bear Forum, I have enjoyed [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] your insights into this sport.
post #70 of 85
One of the fibers of this thread, the "Fast track" approach based on incomplete or incorrect principles, to learning to ski should be condemned as akin to false advertising. The greatest drawback to this approach can be that, while it may appear to produce rapid early results, the student's ability to progress will be dramatically impaired. The "Fast Track" is the "Slow Lane", ultimately.

[ May 05, 2003, 04:30 PM: Message edited by: arcadie ]
post #71 of 85
Quote:
Originally posted by arcadie:
One of the fibers of this thread, the "Fast track" approach based on incomplete or incorrect principles, to learning to ski should be condemned as akin to false advertising. The greatest drawback to this approach can be that, while it may appear to produce rapid early results, the student's ability to progress will be dramatically impaired. The "Fast Track" is the "Slow Lane", ultimately.
Yeah everyone should wedge for at least three - five years regardless of what they are capable of...
post #72 of 85
Quote:
Originally posted by Roto:
qb]
Yeah everyone should wedge for at least three - five years regardless of what they are capable of...[/quote]

I've been told that classes in the Arlberg Technique were like that. People who went through that system have told me what a big deal it was to be promoted from the snowplow class to the Stem Turn Class, usually after an entire season of instruction. I taught with a number of young Austrian instructors who seemed to have a similar philosophy. The cynic in me suspects this is just a scheme for insuring the slow progress of their students so their classes would stay full but I know this isn't how they felt about it.

Actually I found myself the target of criticism from these folks because of the rapid progress of my students so its kind of ironic to be accused of favoring the slow mo approach. What they had a difficult time understanding was that I was teaching a skills progression which allows students to progress at their own speed, rather than the pace of my presentation. Roto may be trolling here but he seems to be describing a progression characterized by forms. Wedge turns are just a tool for skill development, not something you would require your stuidents to do.

I've seen quite a few folks who were stymied in their progress because their instructors were in such haste to make them into "parallel skiers" that they neglected basic skill development. Those who had started off slower, learning balance, ski guidance, cm movement, pressure development, passed them right by.
post #73 of 85
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by jimbo:
[QB]Fastman-Now that I know about your past history as a ski coach, I have several questions. How do you continually motivate your skiers who already know they are good (or think they are good)?

FASTMAN:
This is one of the great things about the race environment, it creates the motivation. It is easy to delude oneself into a sense of ability grandeur when there is no gage on which to truly measure the extent of our greatness. In the absence of a measuring stick we can happily ski around the resort in ignorant bliss with the distorted idea we are great skiers and thus possess little motivation to improve further.

But enter a race, a clock and 100 competitors into the picture and immediately any such false illusions get bitch slapped by reality. 99 out of those 100 racers will get dusted, get publicly exposed, and go home KNOWING they are not the best racer on the hill. It's a humbling experience, but it's also a GREAT motivation to train and improve. If they have confidence in the coach their focus and desire to train becomes very intense. If recreational skiers were subjected to similar daily, publicly displayed performance evaluations I think we would see a much larger participation in upper level lessons.

JIMBO:
How do you make good skiers/ski racers better?

FASTMAN:
My philosophy on this was to always strive to refine and broaden. I believe the secret to great skiing is expanding the range of capabilities. As much time as I spend on developing optimal/efficient balance platforms, body positions and edging skills, I spend an equal amount of time developing their ability to perform effortlessly outside of these optimal venues. There are always new technical challenges that can be introduced to continue the development of this versatility and the result is a super skier who seems to be able to do anything on his/her skis.

Possessing this versatility skill foundation fosters a keener sensitivity for identifying and entering optimal technical/balance zones, allows one to quickly and confidently cope with temporary balance disruptions, eliminates the fear of experiencing those momentary disruptions (which can cause one to hold back and ski defensively), allows skiers to employ specialized technical strategies to tweak performance, and allows them to easily adopt any new technical adaptations that may come down the innovation pipe, as was the case when short radius skis came on the market.

And then there are tactics, but this is less applicable to the recreational skier.

JIMBO:
Have you ever written a book or publications on your past skiing life? If so what are they? In my short time in this Barking Bear Forum, I have enjoyed your insights into this sport.

FASTMAN:
Thanks Jimbo. No, I haven't published anything in relation to skiing beyond instructional pieces for the exclusive benefit of my students. This forum is the first time I have gone (public), so to speak, with my ideas.
post #74 of 85
Thank You, Fastman. Keep your ideas, and thoughts coming!
post #75 of 85
Quote:
Originally posted by arcadie:


I've been told that classes in the Arlberg Technique were like that. People who went through that system have told me what a big deal it was to be promoted from the snowplow class to the Stem Turn Class, usually after an entire season of instruction. I taught with a number of young Austrian instructors who seemed to have a similar philosophy. The cynic in me suspects this is just a scheme for insuring the slow progress of their students so their classes would stay full but I know this isn't how they felt about it.

Actually I found myself the target of criticism from these folks because of the rapid progress of my students so its kind of ironic to be accused of favoring the slow mo approach. What they had a difficult time understanding was that I was teaching a skills progression which allows students to progress at their own speed, rather than the pace of my presentation. Roto may be trolling here but he seems to be describing a progression characterized by forms. Wedge turns are just a tool for skill development, not something you would require your stuidents to do.
I remember a story in Powder ca. 1984-5 about the adventures of an American instructor in Austria. The director would present the required teaching for each day in the morning before any students or teachers met. The American taught something different because he thought it was appropriate for his students and the conditions and was fired for departing from the director's prescription.
post #76 of 85
Quote:
Originally posted by Roto:
[]I remember a story in Powder ca. 1984-5 about the adventures of an American instructor in Austria. The director would present the required teaching for each day in the morning before any students or teachers met. The American taught something different because he thought it was appropriate for his students and the conditions and was fired for departing from the director's prescription.[/QB]
I taught with these folks at a resort in New England. SSD was Austrian so I can relate to authoritarian rule.

I've come to the conclusion (reluctantly) that there may be something to the concerns of those Austrian instructors I taught with that we encourage our students to progress too rapidly. It does seem ridiculous to me to create a lesson plan, and stick to it, before meeting your students or observing them, however. These guys I taught with were like a lot of skiers I've known. They were from mountain towns, had skiied most of their lives on all kinds of terrain and snow conditions and were versatile, solid skiers. The American skiers they saw were mostly weekend skiers from flatland, backseat skiers, body turners used to skiing highly groomed terrain. They felt these skiers lacked basic skills and blamed that (unfairly I thought) on our teaching system. They came from a culture that holds technical mastery in high regard and had a difficult time accepting that relatively few American skiers take ski lessons after the first lesson or two. I tried to explain that the skiers they saw had developed as they did in the absence of instruction not because of our instruction.

The other aspect of cultural difference that these folks had a hard time accepting was the "fast food" mentality, the demand for instant gratification reflected in their students expectations for ski instruction. We have developed a method for ski instruction in response to this which can produce rapid results which I frequently found astonishing. This seems to work quite well if students receive consistently good instruction and if their progress is monitored and faults corrected as they develop. This rarely seems to be the case, at least in my experience. The typical students I've seen may take a few lessons and then take the skills they've learned so quickly out onto the hill. They spend quite a bit of time in self-directed learning, moving quickly onto terrain that is marginally within their ability, perhaps receiving instruction and advice from their friends. The super groomed terrain at our resorts facilitates this to some extent. These folks do a lot of self directed exploration and "lateral learning" until they discover they aren't able to progress further. Their early learning just allowed them to get out there. The balanced skill development of those lessons has become lost and the self taught techniques the core of their own skiing. Now they return to ski school to take a lesson or two, having become habitual backseat skiers, body turners, stiff lower leg skiers etc.. In brief they now have ingrained disfunctional techniques, grounded partly in fear, which are very difficult to overcome.

I suppose its unrealistic to expect to be able to to change expectations which are culturally based but I wonder if we do our students a favor by promising that our instruction and the new ski designs will allow them to learn rapidly. The result seems to be the opposite, after a point.

Sorry if this is getting off topic.
post #77 of 85
I was in Austria in 1988, St. Christoph, at the first PSIA National Academy held in Europe. That was just about when our "Center Line Model" (TM) first went public, with its emphasis not only on the movements of modern performance turns, but also on the principles of "linear and lateral learning." That is, it graphically illustrated two learning directions. Linear learning means "straight up the Center Line"--advancing quickly along the one-dimensional line* from beginner turns to basic parallel to advanced parallel. Progress here is purely a function of increasing skill at the same basic principles, movements, skill blends, and tactics. The other direction is "lateral learning"--exploring DIFFERENT skill blends, movements, and intents--BROADENING, without necessarily ELEVATING, the skills base. Good teaching, according to The Model, incorporated both types learning. Versatility was the marque of the excellent skier, and the ability to teach whatever best suited the individual student's needs at any moment was the signature of the excellent teacher.

But the reality, it seems, was that most American instructors focused on linear learning almost exclusively. Our perfect groomed green, blue, and even black runs lend themselves to linear learning, and many of our students learned to make "parallel turns" in just a couple days. But they couldn't ski AT ALL in anything but perfect groomed conditions.

What a contrast to the Austrians! I remember watching an Austrian ski class go by, following exactly in its instructor's tracks, stem christying down a moderately steep pitch covered with inconsistent heavy crud. Dave Merriam, now the head Demo Teams coach, stood next to me and remarked on the contrast. These people probably hadn't ever made a parallel turn, which American students typically did in a couple days, but they were happily skiing conditions that most American skiers of their experience level couldn't ski AT ALL. Dave remarked on how versatile and adaptable the typical Austrian intermediate student was, compared with the one-dimensional, yet arguably higher skilled, American intermediate student.

Which one is better? The only thing I'll argue there is that our teaching model emphasizes that the STUDENT should determine the direction of the lesson--not the instructor. If you're a wedge-christie-level skier, and you want to work on your parallel turn, a good instructor should be able to take you there (linear learning). If you're a wedge-christie-level skier and you want to explore bumps, steeper terrain, or ungroomed, a good instructor can take you there too. (Just don't expect to do both at the same time!)

I've said it before: "INTENT DICTATES TECHNIQUE." As a student, your intent is up to you. Matching the learning and the experience to your intent is the job of the instructor. But far too many lessons still fail because the instructor tries to teach offensive movements to defensive skiers....

Once again, this discussion reveals the fundamental flaw in "shortcut to parallel" progressions--especially when they imply that "parallel" is the same as "expert." What a huge disservice to students, to fail to show them the world of real skiing, and to suggest that one move fits all.

And it also shows the challenge of truly effective teaching! It is NOT a simple case of "this is how you do it." Every student is unique. Every lesson must embrace that uniqueness!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

[edit]
* I know that lines are two-dimensional. But you get the idea!

[ May 06, 2003, 09:51 PM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]
post #78 of 85
Thread Starter 
Well, this is very encouraging!! I'm so glad to see that there are some enlightened instructors out there who clearly understand the potential negative repercussions of fast track (linear) teaching.

My teaching career started in Europe in the late 70's under the Austrian system so I had a very early exposure to the importance of building a strong fundamental skill base to best support advanced technique. I was back over there again this year and observed that the same philosophy still appears to be in place. The shape ski mania has overtaken the public there just as it has here, but even though most skiers are sporting these boards it has not prompted instructors to abandon their fundamental roots and rush to teach their students to ride a rail. I observed very few "carve" lessons going on, the majority of what I saw going on was the refinement of base skills.

I know we have a -cater to the desires of the customer- mentality in our present thinking, but it worries me that in doing so we introduce the potential of providing a product that is not in the customers best long term interest. The Austrian model does not suffer that fate because they adopt a more authoritarian role and the students that choose to submit to that authority are rewarded long term. If we do choose here to adopt a more malleable approach I can only suggest that it is imperative the instructor attempt to educate the student to the fact that what they think they want is not necessarily what is in their best long term interest and strive to reroute their desires into more fundamentally sound directions.

In an earlier post I made a parental analogy that suggested we have an obligation to feed our students vegetables even if they want candy. It's a philosophy I follow strictly myself but ultimately it is an individual choice each instructor must make to insure that they feel comfortable with and proud of the product they are offering their students.

[ May 07, 2003, 05:28 AM: Message edited by: FastMan ]
post #79 of 85
FastMan,

With my children, I have found that following the taste of creamed spinach with the taste of applesauce enabled them to finish both.

If all you are offering is creamed spinach, you will have to force it down. Bring the applesauce onto the plate and suddenly you have some leverage to get them to eat the spinach.

In my ski teaching practice, this simple analogy has made all the difference.
post #80 of 85
So what are the basics? What are the fundamentals? How would each one of you answer the above? I will start with what a few items of what I perceive to be some of the basics. Please add or refine or expand this list.

1-Being evenly balanced over the skis on both feet (A washing machine, spin top, ceiling fan, airplane propellor all turn more efficiently and easier if they are balanced).

2-Smoothly rise and release the edges simultaneously, or if in compression turns, absorb and release the edges. (See the thread-Do you unweight on the steeps?)

3-Center of Mass moves down the hill.

4-Turn both feet, simultaneously.

5-Being able to roll the skis on edge and let them go (this is just one skill, not the end goal, as has been discussed in this thread!).

6-Moving with the skis.

7-Having your body aligned in a slight counter down the hill. (However, is this necessary when a skier uses a pre-turn)?

8-As the new turn develops, flex the ankles, knees and hips, to help control the turn.

9-Rhythm (spelling?) and flow develop throughout the turn sequences. Do not get camped or frozen in any one position.

Does anyone care to expand on these items? This inquiring mind wants to know!
post #81 of 85
jimbo, I took the liberty of moving the previous post into its own thread for the convenience of future readers. Around my part of the world we call what I did a unilateral. I hope you don't mind. [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img]
post #82 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by nolo:
FastMan,

With my children, I have found that following the taste of creamed spinach with the taste of applesauce enabled them to finish both.
===================================

Absolutely Miss Poppins, a spoonful of sugar does most definitely help the medicine go down!!

This is a teaching technique I too have found much success in. Learning does not have to be like taking caster oil. With a little creativity instructors can design drills that focus on specific skills but are a heck off a lot of fun to do.

When your students are begging to do an exercise, laughing as they do it, and the people watching from the lift look as confused as a hillbilly in an art gallery you'll know your onto something.
post #83 of 85
Not at all nolo. Thanks! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #84 of 85
wow! This stuff is excellent. Our ski heritage in Oz is very much Austrian, I'm really enjoying reading the takes of you lot on the differences...i'm learning stuff here.
post #85 of 85
[quote]Originally posted by FastMan:
Quote:
Originally posted by nolo:

When your students are begging to do an exercise, laughing as they do it, and the people watching from the lift look as confused as a hillbilly in an art gallery you'll know your onto something.
Exactly! I had a group of children for an all day lesson and after lunch, I could tell the lesson was virtually over. They had lost interest. So what do I do? What could I do to get the group together? (I apologize if I spoke of this in a previous post). I posed a question to the group that I wondered if all 10 of them could take me on in a snowball fight. Their ears perked up and I was called a "variety" of names from a silly old s--t to others. I then said; "All right, let's get it on!" I ushered the group way over to the side of the beginner area, quikly kicked off my skis, and started the war. They soon realized, what we already know, that old age and treachery always overcome youth and skill. However, they soon grouped together, and formed a wolf pack, circled me, and I "let" them get me.

Two supervisors eventually skied by and told me to "see" them at the end of the day. They were not laughing. I thought that I was screwed and that I was in trouble. However, the area manager soon skied by. I thought I was really in trouble then. However, he looked at me, looked at the kids laughing and squealing with delight, looked back at me, smiled, winked, nodded his head and skied off.

5-10 minutes after this started, I asked the kids "Hey, do you want to ski? Put your skis on and see if you can follow me!" They all yelled "YES!" I helped them with their skis, and the rest of the lesson was a riot with a group of happy squealing delightful kids. I let each of them take the lead at various times. They thought we were playing a game, and we were, but I also was giving them what I thought they needed. Many people the rest of the day stared at our group, and shook their heads.

The bottom line is that I gave them what they wanted, yet I also gave them what I thought they needed. Yes, it is possible to be the good parent, and the spoiling grandparent at the same time!
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