How the Olympics can teach your children more than just sport

This weekend marks the start of the long awaited Olympic Games in Tokyo, one year later than planned and five years since the last Games in Brazil. The Games are always a wonderful opportunity for families to enjoy a wide variety of sports played at the very highest level, but aside from this, they can also teach children some valuable life lessons.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again is a lesson that I try to teach my children on a daily basis and it can been seen so clearly in the example of the Olympic athlete. The Games are the result of hours, days and years of hard work, training and discipline. And, whilst I am not expecting to raise two Olympians, I do hope that they are inspired by the examples set at the Games.  Through perseverance and determination, anything is possible.

Following your dreams is another lesson that I look forward to sharing with my children when watching the Games – it takes dedication, drive and pure focus to compete at such a level and this is so often based on a simple dream. Find something that you love and follow your passion.

But without a doubt, the most valuable lessons are those of the three values of Olympism; EXCELLENCE – striving to be the very best that you can, recognising and encouraging others to do the same, FRIENDSHIP – the Games are unique in uniting people around the world and RESPECT – for the rules, yourself and most importantly your opponent. Founder of the Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, believed that not only could sport demonstrate physical excellence, it also had the power to unite people, allowing them to better understand each other irrespective of their differences. On the official website, The Olympic Committee values in their values that , ‘there is more that unites us than divides us’ and the Olympic movement seeks to ‘contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play’.  Such a powerful message to teach our children so perfectly demonstrated through the actions of sporting heroes and role models at the Games. So when you sit down to enjoy the Games this year, do so in the knowledge that they are more than just a sporting event, they are a lesson to us all in human values.

Whilst writing this piece, I came across a wonderful teaching resource provided by The Olympic Museum which includes a range of resources for children of all ages from fun games, to videos and historical timelines.  Click here to explore further.



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