What families can learn from the 2012 Olympics…sort of.

Posted on June 13, 2012

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2012 Parenting Games

Welcome to this week’s installment of WTF Wednesday where we are the leading experts on our own opinion.

This week’s question comes via Twitter from Gina Valley, whose blog usually makes me laugh but today made me cry. Gina writes:

Dear IBMP,

What can we as a family learn from the Olympic Games?

Well isn’t that timely. With the summer Olympics coming up, it makes perfect sense to see what we can learn from such an important sporting event. There are plenty of sites telling you how to get tickets to the big events, like Indoor Whiffle Ball and Tug ‘o’ War, so I won’t really go there even though I’d get way more hits on this post.

The most obvious lesson families can learn from the Olympics is about teamwork. In the summer Olympics, teams are all about doing your part to support the strongest member. If you’re a runner or a cyclist, for example, you spend all your time getting in the way of other teams so the guy on your team that actually has a chance of winning has a clear path.

This lesson is about sacrificing your win for the good of the team. To put it more accurately, it’s about sacrificing your win so the guy that’s already the crowd favorite can win yet again, ensuring that all the good sponsorships and speaking engagements are taken so all you end up with is a free tee shirt from Bob’s Chicken Shack and an invitation to speak at your kid’s kindergarten about what it’s like to loose at the Olympics. Take from that what you will.

Another really important lesson has to do with hard work and perseverance. You see, it takes years of grueling training, working out 8 hours a day and sacrificing any bit of a life you might otherwise have to compete in the Olympic Games. After all that hard work, three people will get to stand up on that podium and represent their countries in their moment of glory. What an awesome triumph! Suddenly, for the winners all the hard work and sacrifice is completely worth it.

For the other 99.9% it pretty much just sucks.

So statistically speaking, you’re wasting your time. Those of you with grown kids probably already see where I’m going with this. You spent your best years working 3 jobs to ensure your child was enriched with clarinet lessons, gymnastics, hockey and science camps; you ate less so you could save money to pay for your child’s college education; you gave up yoga and the book club so you could drive your child all over town; you carefully screened your child’s potential playmates to ensure they were exposed only to the best influences. Yet your now 25 year-old son just moved back in with you and his proudest moment was when he reached a secret stretch of Mah’habara by hitching a ride from Sulyya Springs on the fal’Cie on Final Fantasy Xlll.

Certain Olympic sports provide good learning opportunities for families as well. Take racewalking for example (yes, it is an Olympic sport). Racewalking teaches us that it’s OK to look silly in front of millions of people. It’s also something that all parents practice a lot in the mall while trying to get a desperate child to the bathroom without looking like you’re THAT desperate.

The high jump has many things to teach parents. Most notably, no matter where you set the bar, there’s always someone standing by waiting to raise it further.

The shot put and hammer throw are great reminders that today’s annoying habits are tomorrow’s annoying Olympic sports. Next time you’re watching a bowl of Cheerios fly across the dining room, remember that it’s never too early to start training for the Olympics.

Problem solved! You’re welcome.

Got a question for the experts? Sorry, the experts are on some other blog. You can leave a question for us, though, if you want.

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Posted in: Advice (bad)