A different lifestyle and a passion for riding and sliding define this Lebanese family. They are the living proof that anything can still happen in Lebanon, that dreams are still possible, that victory is at their doorsteps, that the golden age is not dead, and that perseverance is key. Ada, mother of four prodigal children, shared her family experience with HOME for Magazine.
Four children and their parents share one passion, sports
The eldest Massya, 24, works at Booz and Co, Mounia, 22, studies medicine at Balmand, Yasma, 19, is in Holland and studies industrial engineering, and the youngest, Issam, is just 14. It all goes back to the story of how their parents met, through a shared love of horseback riding. Both had their respective championship stories recorded in the newspapers, at a time where each one of them had won a championship. Thus, there was only one possible way of living and that was to practice sports together and to create a family around that.
"Representing Lebanon worldwide remains a big pride. Holding the Lebanese flag around the world, be it in Mexico or in Quebec is important"
A way of living
Horseback riding and skiing are their all-time favorite activities. For a long period of time, they used to go to Faraya during the weekends. On Fridays, they stopped at Aintoura to ride horses and then continued their way to Faraya for skiing. On their way back on Sundays, they stopped to ride the horses as well. Whenever the kids would want to go out, they would have to choose between their morning sports’ activities during the weekends and their nights out with their friends. The parents always gave their children the choice. Mayssa, the most intellectual of the children, had always wondered if another way of living existed. Despite this she was also a horseback riding champion. Issam always needed a push to kick-start his days although he is naturally gifted, and once he started, always pushed himself to the limit. What made everything easier is that the whole family practices sports together, and the ultimate condition to persevere in this field of activities is that everything remains cool.
The benefits of sports
Horseback riding is the key for responsibility and perseverance. Horses need to go out every day, so Issam is the one who does the ride everyday now after school. Children get used to pressure and competitions’ challenges, and develop skills they can apply in everyday life. They become more self-confident and well organized. Besides, this never had a negative impact on their studies at Louise Wegmann. Practicing sports would develop a strong sense of determination for the kids. For instance, Mounia decided to pursue medicine studies no matter what the challenges were, as she believed that when you want something, you can get to it. That is what she grew up learning.
Trips and world championships
Yasma went to the World Championship in 2015, and in 2013 to the World Championship Junior of alpine ski. She and her sister were each qualified in one category. Issam been qualified for the World Championship in Mexico, in which he finished second. Everybody accompanied him to Belgium as well for a track.
A healthy lifestyle
Since they were kids the family have all been used to a healthy lifestyle. They would eat home-cooked meals, even when they went horseback riding immediately after school. The parents did not allow them to have chips despite them having a large cupboard full of candy, the children were never really interested in eating sweets.
Accidents are part of practicing sports, especially horseback riding and skiing.
The rider is gifted
Once, in Holland, Issam was training at his coach’s. A man came to buy a horse and he wanted Issam to try it. Afterward, the coach asked him if the horse was good enough to buy and the man answered: ‘I don’t know about the horse but the rider is certainly gifted.’
Horseback riding teaches children important lessons:
Responsibility - taking care of a living animal
Stress management - how to control your temper in competitive situations
Concentration - focus is important when you are riding, leisurely or in competition
Confidence - the feeling of self-satisfaction from taking care of and riding a horse in competition (even if you don’t win).