Fathering | Olympics provide teachable moment

By Robert OrndorffMarch 1, 2014 

One highlight of this extra cold and snowy winter was the Winter Olympics. Watching such a wide variety of events and athletes has been fun for our entire family — it’s also been good for our kids to see and realize the level of dedication it takes to compete at this level.

I asked my 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son what they learned from the Olympic athletes. My son said, “Try your hardest and never give up.”

My daughter said, “When you don’t get a medal, remember how amazing it is that you’ve made it to the Olympics.”

As fathers, we have golden opportunities to teach life lessons when watching the Olympics (and other sporting events) with our kids.

Action ideas

Think back to the lessons your dad taught you when playing sports or competing in backyard or board games.

When our kids perform in activities or sports, we can encourage them to concentrate on what they can control — their hearts and their heads.

You can’t control the outcome or how successfully you perform, but you can always control how hard you try (heart) and how focused you are (head).

There are three life lessons — just to name a few — that we can take from this year’s Olympians: preparation, perseverance and sportsmanship. We can encourage our kids to think about how many hours the athletes prepared, how tough it must be to get back up after falling on the ice and finish their routine, and how much character it takes for the athletes to congratulate their opponents upon facing such great disappointment.

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides biweekly Action Ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents. For more information, or to join local conversations, contact David Eggebeen at e5x@psu.edu, Mick Trombley at mick@micktrombley.com, Robert Orndorff at rmo104@psu.edu, Chris Dufour at chrisdufour19@gmail.com or Marc McCann at marc.mccann@arrow.org. See the Centre County Fathering website for resources and information at www.centrefathering.org.

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