Parenting Lessons Learned from the 2012 Olympics: Winning isn’t Everything
Ah, the Olympics. The excitement, the pageantry, the shared national pride and unity. And of course - the scandal. Seems every year these gladiators serve up more than just killer athletic prowess – some also manage to garner attention the old-fashioned way, by behaving badly.
The Summer 2012 Olympics has delivered its fair share of fodder for tabloid gossip and crushing disappointment. A few of the allegations regarding this year’s alleged unsportsmanlike and illegal behaviors include:
Ø The Badminton World Federation recently announced that eight female badminton players were disqualified for trying to lose matches
Ø The IOC (International Olympic Committee) says female gymnast Luiza Galiulina from Uzbekistan has now been formally expelled after she tested positive for doping
Ø Greek triple jumper Papachristou and Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella were each banned from competing in the Olympics after posting racist jokes on Twitter
Ø China’s Ye Shiwen is accused of using performance enhancing substances – although she denies all allegations
Whether it’s doping or throwing games or showcasing unsportsmanlike behavior, it’s tragic. Is the desire to take home the gold so important it trumps integrity? Is winning all that matters? And does elite star power mean the usual rules do not apply?
Most importantly - what message does all of this give to our impressionable children?
As mere mortals who struggle to get to the gym twice a week, we tend to revere these athletes for their enduring blistering tenacity and brutal training schedules. But at the end of the day – they’re human. Is it fair to hope in the relentless pursuit of perfection – and winning at all costs – that we also ask these athletes to serve as role models to our children?
I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know we can all take a lesson in this to teach our kids better. There is nothing wrong with fierce competition. I’ve heard many parents lament today’s notion that, “everyone gets a trophy.” In pursuit of preserving self-esteem, we’ve gone a bit too far in padding our children from the agony of defeat.
But on the flipside, we’ve all stood witness to parents who’ve fallen short of modeling sportsmanlike behavior themselves. We’ve seen parents engage in mutiny of volunteer coaches they don’t believe are up to snuff; we’ve cringed as parents and coaches scream from the sidelines and berate children for under-performing. So it’s no wonder that we sometimes give them the message that winning trumps the means by which to get there.
I say we let out kids compete, but teach them the joy in playing a good game for the sake of exercise, fun and competition. And that winning, by means other than skill and integrity, isn’t always everything.
A real champion works hard, competes harder, and wins or loses with grace. Kids can learn about good sportsmanship and more at LuckyKatWorld.com, an online gaming website for kids. They can also participate in the WIYO Olympics by playing their diving game!
You are at the controls to make Lucky twist, spin and dive his way to a gold medal. While you’re there, you and your kids can check out all the other great games, build a virtual island, and even watch videos in LK, a safe video website for kids! So teach your kids about having fun and good values at the same time, and what it takes to become a true Olympian.