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10 Ways the Olympics Can Make Your Family Stronger

Making a tradition out of watching the Olympics as a family can lead to lots of teachable and memorable moments. Mighty Mommy shares ten ways the Olympics can make your family stronger.

By
Cheryl Butler,
August 8, 2016
Episode #390

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The Olympic Games inspire viewers around the world every two years. The Summer Olympic Games 2016 will take place from August 5th to August 21sin Rio de Janeiro. 

The creed, or guiding principle, of the modern Olympic Games is a quote by Baron de Coubertin: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."  

This summer you can turn the Olympics into a family event where you can help your children to embrace the official Olympic Creed in teaching them some valuable life lessons such as the importance of teamwork, culture, and positive attitudes. Mighty Mommy shares 10 ways the Olympics can make a family stronger.

#1. Dedication

Many Olympians start training when they are young kids, and dedicate themselves to their sport throughout their entire school years. The combination of their athletic talent and extreme focus in training for years and years to arrive at this amazing moment—participating in the Olympics sets them apart from others. Dedication is what our kids need to accomplish any goal set before them, regardless of how big or small it might be. Watching the Olympic athletes from all around the world is a great way to show our kids how this type of fortitude pays off.

#2.  Teamwork

If your kids play sports, they likely know how important teamwork is for not just winning a game but to be part of a group effort that focuses on a goal that involves working together. To compete at the Olympic level, teamwork is even more vital. It’s inspiring to watch athletes cheer for other athletes and for their larger team. Watching the Olympics shows our kids that that teamwork skills are important in all aspects of life—not just in sports and this is especially true when we belong to a family. Families need to work together to be strong including helping with household duties, siblings looking out for one another, and figuring out ways to support one another when life throws obstacles in our path.  See Also: 10 Essential Parenting Strategies for When Life's' Got You Down.

#3.  Diversity

The Olympics is a wonderful time to introduce children to racial and cultural diversity. We are fortunate to live in a country where so many ethnicities are represented, giving families plenty of wonderful opportunities to learn and appreciate how different cultures live without having to leave home to do so.

The best way to teach your child about cultural diversity is to let them see you as accepting and tolerant. Our children imitate us, so in order to teach our children about cultural diversity, we as parents need to figure out what our beliefs are about this topic.

The goal is to introduce our children to the different ways people live. We do not want to cloud their judgment and give them biases, so if you do admittedly have any prejudices, you will need to resolve (or reserve) those so that your child will be open to new experiences and new people.  During the Olympics there are so many opportunities to discuss the rich cultures around the globe.

Use the opening ceremonies to explore other culturesHave each family member pick a country and research some fun facts about it and then maybe pick a few nights throughout the Olympic games to try a dish from that country.

#4.  Sportsmanship

Playing sports isn't just about winning and losing; it's about learning the proper way to react when you win or lose. And learning how to interact with others whether you win or lose plays an important part in good sportsmanship. You can learn good sportsmanship when playing sports, participating in school activities, or even by simply working at the office. You demonstrate good sportsmanship when you show respect for yourself, your teammates, and your opponents, for the coaches on both sides, and for the referees, judges, and other officials.  

Real winners win without gloating or rubbing it in, and this includes offering encouragement to teammates, especially when they make mistakes, as well as showing respect to yourself by treating others the way you want to be treated—no matter what the outcome. Good athletes lose without pouting and accept the judgment calls of the coaches and the officials without argument. Remind your kids of how many successes each athlete celebrated just to get to the Olympics, and that the journey is an accomplishment in and of itself.  Unfortunately, parents and coaches sometimes put too much pressure on athletes, emphasizing winning at all costs. So although it's great to be a champion, it's even better to have enjoyed the process of trying to reach the top. Teaching kids to play fair while having fun is a lesson that will serve them a lifetime.

#5. Perseverance      

Throughout the games, you’ll be hearing the stories of each athlete’s journey to the Olympics. Those stories are often about overcoming great obstacles, like that of Kayla Harrison, United States, Women’s Judo team.  As a 13-year-old prodigy in the sport, Harrison was taken to international tournaments by a coach who sexually abused her. According to Campbell Robertson of the New York Times, that coach pleaded guilty to illicit sexual conduct in November 2007. She didn’t allow the abuse to deter her from the sport.  At the 2012 London Games, Harrison, who competes in the 78-kilogram division, became the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in judo. She is just one of many athletes that have overcome a hardship to see her dream come true. These real-life Olympic heroes make for great family discussions where you can talk about how adversity can sometimes make you a stronger, more determined person.

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