My son Tyler scored his first goal ever in hockey today. Now it was at practice but this was a massive accomplishment for him. Tyler is the first in our family to ever to play hockey and needless to say when he got on the ice at the skills assessment back in the fall that was painfully obvious. We showed up at the skills assessment with an extremely excited little boy who at 7 was so mentally ready to take on the hockey world and show everyone what he could do. As we approached the ice there were about 50 other children on the ice and about 100 parents and grandparents watching. We were one of the last family's to get out on the ice as our experience with getting dressed in hockey equipment was limited and it took us a significant amount of time. When we were finally ready to get Tyler out onto the ice we saw about 50 mini, super speedy, crazy coordinated, clearly have been doing this for a few years, 7 year old hockey players. My husband and I looked at each other in complete and utter shock feeling as though we have just thrown our son under the bus and will be paying for years of therapy for how traumatizing this experience was going to be. However, in true Tyler style he simply stepped onto the ice with more courage than the king of the jungle and attempted to skate with the others. He did have some skating experience but his ability to simply stand on the ice was no match to these 7 year old semi pro's. He fell A LOT! Then the coach blew his whistle to which every other child immediately skated to the middle of the ice where the coach was waiting. Tyler for no word of a lie to took 2 full minutes standing up and falling down in efforts to approach the coach. He did finally make it to his destination where they described how the skills assessment was going to work. At this point I am sobbing and my husband is pacing like a crazy person both of us feeling like we have just written a coarse on how to severely ruin your child's self esteem. As they move forward in the assessment all the kids have to line up at one end of the ice and then skate to the opposite end in lines. I am sweating profusely at this point and trying through tear stained cheeks to smile and give a thumbs up to tell my son he is doing a great job. Row by row the kids skate across the ice, Tyler's row is the last to go and somehow he manages to make it across the ice without falling. He is last by a mile but he makes it. Amazingly, as he passes us on his way we manage to make eye contact with him and the smile on his face couldn't get any bigger. After a full hour of constant reminders that your child is the absolute worst skater on the ice my husband and I anxiously await for him to come off of the ice to assess the amount of psychological as well as, physical damage that may have been done. To our complete and utter surprise he was ecstatic!. We asked him what he thought and he said "did you see I started to skate faster" followed by "thank goodness some of those guys will be on my team to help score goals". We were speechless and in that moment our 7 year old taught us a very powerful lesson. Tyler has continued with his hockey and progressively improved but still was the worst player in the league but always smiling. We decided to put him in a power skate program to help him with his skills. It helped immensely. Then in his third power skate lesson he purposefully skated towards, grabbed the puck and scored. We were so proud of him especially considering how grim it looked at the beginning of the year. When he came home he said he wanted to draw a picture with a puck, streamers and a title that said "you did it". It was past his bedtime and I had an internal debate about it. However, after about a 2 second delay I said "absolutely, this is an accomplishment and shows how your practice and determination really pays off". Again he taught us a life lesson. Stop and take the time to celebrate. Celebrate the efforts, the accomplishments, the falls, and even the failures. What really matters is "you did it". You chose to show up, to take the plunge. It may not be the NHL, the olympics or for that matter an official game but he still did it. So often we get caught up in how an accomplishment is "supposed" look and if it doesn't come out perfectly trimmed with a bow on top then it must not be worth celebrating. However, so much is worth celebrating, the willingness to simply stand up, fall down and stand up again is a celebration. The willingness to try something new is a celebration. Life is interesting, it has it's challenges but it also has it's gifts. Life is worth celebrating don't forget to acknowledge where you are and that "you did it".