My family and I have loved watching the Winter Olympics in Sochi. My one complaint would be that I wish the television coverage started earlier in the evening so that my kids could see even more of it. I enjoy watching the competition and learning the technical details of a few sports I knew little about - like curling, skeleton and slope style skiing.
My favorite part, however, is the profiles of the Olympians that they intersperse with the competition. What a great family movie night it would make if we could watch the stories uninterrupted. With the news so often filled with negative behavior from politicians and celebrities it is so refreshing to hear about the backgrounds of some of these athletes and to find some great role models for the kids to learn about.
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Hearing how they have overcome adversity, injury, financial challenges etc. in pursuit of their dreams are stories that will stay with the kids for years. My two boys and their cousin were particularly inspired by the story of 19 year old Nick Goepper, a member of the slope style ski team, who won bronze in his event. They saw that he practiced on a homemade ski ramp in his backyard even when there was no snow. They heard how he went door to door asking if he could do any odd jobs in order to earn money to fund his dream of competing in the Olympics after his father lost his job. They were ecstatic when they saw him earn a bronze medal and so was I.
I want to pass on certain values, behaviors and attitudes to my children and am always looking for ways to do this in addition to showing them by example. Watching the stories of these Olympians has been another powerful way to bring these qualities alive for the kids. I imagine we will be seeing even more of these great role models when the Paralympics start and we can't wait.