What Our Kids Can Learn from the Vancouver Olympics

| by Dr Gwenn

Have you been watching the Olympics with your kids this week?

“Wow!” is all I can say. It’s been incredibly exciting to witness, even when our favorites haven’t fared as well as they hoped.

The Olympic games isn’t just about who wins but about who tries. When you really think about the overall games, only 3 metals are awarded for each event among the many outstanding athletes participating. For most of the athletes competing, the name of the game is doing their best and beating a personal best time.

 For our kids, that’s the best lesson of all because for most things in life, most “Olympic” efforts we all attempt put is in the middle of the pack. There will be times we all achieve greatness, win metals, so to speak.

There will be times that we’ll be predicted to “metal” but wipe out unexpectedly, as we’ve seen in some of the events this week such as last night’s men’s snow boarding half pike or Tuesday’s nights men’s figure skating singles. In both of those events, many of the men expected to soar did not quite get to where the experts predicted or they predicted. And, there will be times that an underdog, someone unexpected, will come from out of no where to metal. We saw that earlier in the week in couple’s figure skating.

There are also some other important traits these top athletes have in common. The vast majority didn’t peak in their skills until late in their teen years or early 20s. Some of these competitors didn’t even discover their sport until then and it was often by accident…by trying out something they found fun and exciting, and happened to discover they were good at.

It’s easy to get caught up in dreams but the best ones happen over time. If any of our kids are meant for Olympic glory or any other type of high achievement, they’ll hear the calling and go for it. They’ll have coaches and mentors to help them achieve their goals…they don’t need us for that. Our job, as parents, is to be there, always, with a well placed hug and cheer.

In fact, at all levels and for all activities that’s our job and what our kids needs us to do most of all. If it works for the Olympians, it should work for our kids, too.