It was pretty hard not to get caught up in Olympic fever. The successes, the challenges, the heartbreak – the Olympics turned out to be an unexpected breeding ground for “teachable” moments with the kids.
For me, my favourite conversations were around how athletes support one another.
The Olympics showed us a Canadian coach giving a cross country ski to a Russian skier after his broke. We saw a British bobsleigh team looking incredibly concerned after the Canadian team crashed. We saw curling teams supporting each other and rallying together even if one of them made a bad shot. Ski and snowboard slopestyle were just amazing for showing athletes high-fiving, hugging and congratulating each other at the end of races (whether they won or not). These were people competing, striving to be their best and being supportive of each other and great team players along the way.
I just loved talking to my daughter about these things. She’s only seven and truthfully, the easy thing to understand about competing and racing at this age is that you are trying to win. But not everybody wins and the Olympics helped me to talk to her about all of the other ways you win by doing sports.
It’s about having fun. It’s about doing your best. It’s about working towards a goal. It’s about meeting people. It’s about being part of a team. It’s about having people to support you when you need it and for you to support them when they need it. It’s about learning how to lose. It’s about trying new things. It’s about not giving up. It’s about believing in yourself. And most importantly, it’s about doing something you love.
As we were lying in bed snuggling the other night, she started talking about her upcoming ski races. She commented about how she was excited for them and then asked if I thought she’d ever go to the Olympics.
“Do you love skiing?” “Yes I do Mom.” “Then your love can go a few different ways. Maybe you’ll love it more and more as you do it more and you’ll decide when you’re ready that you want to compete more and more. You’ll set goals for yourself and Mommy and Daddy will be right there with you helping you get to where you want to be and supporting you the whole way. That could lead to the Olympics. Or maybe you’ll keep loving skiing and we’ll all do it together on the weekends. Or maybe you’ll become a teacher or a coach and use your love of skiing to teach others how ski. The important thing is that you’re having fun and doing something you love while you figure it all out. The other important thing to know is that whether you win, lose, fall or decide to do something different, Mommy, Daddy, your brother, your sister, your extended family, your friends – we’re all part of your team forever and will always support and love you.”
Her eyes looked up at me in the dark and she smiled. “Thanks Mom. I really love you, you know.”
Thanks Sochi. Thanks for giving me what felt like some gold medal parenting moments over the past few weeks. I can’t wait to see what comes out of Rio.
Deanna is a Mom of three, wife, marketer and blogger – lover of travel, morning coffee, family time, belly laughs, good friends and uninterrupted showers! Follow her on twitter @DeannaCMiller
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