Lessons children can learn from the Olympics

We tried to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, and we gave up before the athletes even came in. Those ceremonies were entertaining at first, but they ended up being rather long. Our children kept asking me to fast forward.
Live TV is so confusing.
What we have enjoyed is watching some of the actual athletic competitions. With some help from our children, I figured out how to turn the TV on. I still don’t know why it takes three remotes to accomplish something I used to be able to do with the turn of a knob. Wow, I sound old.
In between the commercials, we have watched some diving, track and field, and water polo. Pole vaulting might be our favorite. Or Usain Bolt. It’s a toss-up. We’ve even watched some table tennis. I love the stories. Our boys love the competitions.

As we watch, I hope our sons are learning a few lessons.
  1. It’s a small world. Some of the athletes are from our city. Others are from the same provinces in China as our children. We get to talk about where different countries are, what those countries are known for, whether we’ve been there (a short list), and people we know whose family came from those countries.
  2. You can be a gracious winner or a gracious loser. During the media interviews with the athletes, you can see that some are more humble, and others have more of an ego. But most of them seem to know how to show that they are proud to have won, but also grateful to be where they are.
  3. You have to play fair. A false start can disqualify one of the best runners in the world. And it is heartbreaking to watch him grieve on the sidelines.
  4. God is only a prayer away.
  5. An Olympic athlete doesn’t just represent herself, but her country.
  6. Getting to the Olympics is hard. Some of these athletes’ stories are compelling. Some of them made bad decisions on the way, and they have had to overcome those decisions to get here.
  7. Olympic fans can root for anyone we want. So some of our family is cheering for the USA. Others are cheering for China because we are very proud of our family’s Chinese heritage. And sometimes we cheer for Jamaica or Germany or Japan. Because we can.
  8. Water polo is a sport. And women’s boxing. Who knew?
Oh, and we’re learning that the polite thing would be to wait just a few minutes to put a microphone in someone’s face—at least until that amazing athlete can catch his breath.

Are you watching the Olympics? What lessons are you hoping your children are learning?

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.