“They’re boring:” Olympics 0, Minecraft 1

OlympicMoms+Logo+3This post is part of the #OlympicMoms #OlympicDads campaign! Follow on Twitter for family fitness, nutrition, and inspiration advice from 15 international professionals during the 2014 Winter Olympics. 

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minecraftA young child said to me, “The Olympics? That’s boring … I like MINECRAFT!” and proceeded to tell me the 12 million reasons why. Which I already know.

There it is, the collective gasp from my client parents thinking, “Oh no, she’s writing about my child … did my kid say that?”  Well relax, because about 20 children in recent days have said the same thing.

Okay, so it’s different now… Kids have video games, but most of us didn’t when growing up.Video games like Minecraft are addictive and instantly reinforcing.They fill our children’s minds. And they’re available every day. But the Olympics only come around every few years. Take a moment, just a moment, to explain what the big deal is.

olympic rings abstractEven if you personally don’t really care about the Olympics, MAKE yourself… for just a moment. The lessons of the Olympics are timeless, indelible, the very celebration of perseverance and effort. And aren’t these the inner resources you hope your child can find to succeed, at whatever moment or level in their lives, whatever they yearn for and try, no matter what they may grow up to be.

Here are some talking points:
  • The Olympics are ancient and have been around a long time… somewhere between velociraptors and “the 1900s.”
  • Athletes love their sport but work super hard. They practice even when they don’t feel like it!
  • Many Olympic athletes are teens who still have to do homework, pick up dog poop and clean their rooms between practices.
  • Being good at a sport requires your whole mind and whole body, not just your thumbs.
  • Some kid in your class, your school, or your community may be getting ready to be an Olympian right now; you might see him on TV in 2022 say, “Whoa, I knew that kid!”
  • People training for the Olympics fail every day – fall down, make mistakes, think maybe they can’t do it – and get back up.

Take a moment to sit on the couch with your child, by the TV or with your tablet or phone, even for one event.

Look up a background story with video of an Olympian as a preschooler, gradeschooler. They’re all over NBCOlympics.com. This athlete was once the same age your child is now. Look at him now!

Watch and talk about a single athlete… How old is he? How old was she when she first tried that sport? Who thought she could be in the Olympics … his mom or dad, his coach, himself? Who loves her, drives her to practices, and cheers her on? Did he think about quitting? How did she do in competition today? Is he a loser even if he placed 9th or 19th? Can she try again for the Olympics next year? No, she’s 16 now, and she can’t try this again until she’s 20.Do you think she’ll try again? Would you? How do you think he feels about a bronze medal?  How would you feel?

Minecraft can wait, but the Winter Olympics will be over February 23rd. Tie the score, if you can, even temporarily.
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