Global Collaboration — The 2018 Winter Olympic Games
…that the Olympics are thought to have begun three thousand years ago in Greece in the valley of Olympia. The first games only involved a single day and a running race. It was thought that the games were originally created to honor the Greek God Zeus, the king of all the gods they worshipped. One thousand years later, there was no interest and the games stopped for a time. Then, in the late 1800s, archeologists excavated Olympia and found evidence of the games. There was renewed interest and the modern era of the Olympic games began. Through wars, famine and political unrest, the games continued with new countries and new events added as it evolved over the years.
The Olympic Games are an incredible model of global cooperation. Despite intense conflicts over the types of events, rules for games, allowing women to compete (in 1900), countries warring, boycotts and protests, and more recently, rules about athlete integrity (versus performance-enhancing drug use), the International Olympic Committee has maintained its commitment to their bigger picture mission of “building a better world through sport.” They have had to patiently and tirelessly work through each one of the problems holding to their oath to maintain the Olympic spirit of global cooperation. There’s much in our families we can learn from the model of the Olympics. Here are just a few:
- A Flame Lights the Way
Rituals and traditions are powerful expressions of a commitment to celebrating particular values. The original flame to begin the games is lit still at the very origin of the games in Greece, recognizing and honoring its past. The torch is passed from individual to individual representing country after country to light the fire at the site of the event. The fire represents the agreement of global cooperation that we will play together and learn from one another. It also represents that spirit of excellence in each athlete of expressing their talents and skills on a world stage for all to witness and appreciate. How do you express excellence in family life and when can you light a flame to symbolize that spirit of hard work and cooperation?
2. Striving for a Personal Best
Though each country competes against others, there is a unique emphasis on achieving your own personal best. Each athlete takes responsibility for his or her own preparation and works incredibly hard to perform at the top of her game. Teammates support one another. And countries support one another. There seems a sense that this world stage offers a connection between all those who are striving for excellence in their particular sport. How can each family member work toward and support one another in striving for their personal best?
3. Learning about the Community We’re Visiting
We respect each other when we show curiosity to learn about one another. And we respect the community we are in by learning about it. Each time the Olympic Games are held, they are hosted by a different town and country. And each time, there is much to learn about the host. This 23rd Olympic Winter Games will be hosted by Pyeongchang, South Korea. Here’s a little bit about the host community.
Pyeongchang, pronounced “pyuhng-chahng,” is a county in Gangwon Province, South Korea. It’s located eighty miles east of the country’s capital, Seoul and sixty miles south of the Demilitarized Zone dividing North Korea and South Korea. Considering its latitude, it’s the Earth’s coldest location. They experience lots of snowfall in the wintertime. They plan to host 3,894 athletes and 35,000 spectators. The country is known for Odaesan National Park, with trails crisscrossing the Taebaek Mountains. The park is also home to several Buddhist temples, including Woljeongsa Temple, with its nine-story octagonal pagoda.
For the games schedule, check out this link.
4. Resilience Is the Common Trait of Champions
When you learn about the individuals who compete in the Olympic Games, over and again, their theme is resilience. There are countless stories of poverty, severe injuries, chronic illnesses and disabilities, family tragedies and more which the Olympic contenders and medalists have endured. Yet they believed in themselves and in the dream of doing something bigger. And through their conviction, they worked harder than most to achieve their dreams. These many champions can be an ongoing source of inspiration and motivation for any of us. What are your family stories of resilience? How can you tell them to one another as a wellspring of inspiration when you need it most?
To learn more, check out:
For a timeline on the history of the games, check out, https://www.historyonthenet.com/olympic-games-timeline-2/
And try out your own indoor family Olympics! Here are a few ideas…
Involve your kids in creating your own set of household-appropriate Olympic games. Maybe you create a ball roll across the room or a long jump and measure it. Perhaps kids create a pillow obstacle course. Maybe they see how many push ups they can do. Demonstrate one Olympic challenge you create and then, challenge them to create their own. Use a timer and encourage them to beat their own time. Do set safety rules before they begin such as, balls stay on the ground or you are limited to a particular room or safe zone. Light a candle or make a tissue paper flame torch to kick off your games and do a finale in which they have to do each game in a row.
We’ll be watching the opening ceremonies with another family. We’re getting out our world map and the kids will pinpoint the countries on the map as they’re introduced.
However you choose to engage, remember that each time the Olympic Games take place, they represent peace and cooperation in our world. And that’s certainly something to celebrate!
If you want to read more on the Olympics, here are a few recommended children’s books:
A Kid’s Guide to 2018 Winter Games by Jack L. Roberts and Michael Owens
What Are the Summer Olympics? by Gail Herman