Many families around the world have been gathering around the TV to do what I‘ve been doing… watching the 2012 summer Olympics unfold. Always full of high drama, comprised of both struggles and victories, the Olympics have proven to be an exciting form of entertainment.
I did some math the other day and figured that approximately one out of every 500,000 people has a chance of becoming an Olympic athlete. Translated, that means a whole lot of us will never see the inside of Olympic village. We will never be able to experience the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat in that forum. Through modern technology, however, we all have the opportunity to witness and be a part of the Olympic spirit.
I’ve often wondered what it is that drives an athlete to want to become an Olympian. What drives them to dedicate their young lives solely to this one
event? My answer came through an article I read on the Internet from a reporter who interviewed several Olympic athletes about this single-minded ambition. He reported that for the most part these athletes simply love their sport but, more than that, they loved the idea of reaching the pinnacle of success in that sport by doing it better than anyone else in the world.
Although every Olympian goes to the games to win, I think the Olympic Creed best captures the essence of the games:
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
What that creed is saying is that the true spirit of the Olympics is when athletes are competing and giving their all regardless of the outcome.
What if we took this same philosophy, drive and ambition and applied it towards our family and relationships? Of course our goal is to win at home, but we need to understand that we are winning when we engage in the process of dealing with all the struggles and challenges and trying to do our best! As long as we play an active role in our families, then we will always be in contention for a medal. We need to stop beating ourselves up if our kids make mistakes or our marriage isn’t perfect, because as it states in the Olympic creed, “the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.”
We don’t grow from the victories; we hope to emerge from the struggles victorious. We can’t always control the actions of our spouse or children, but we can fight for them at all costs. We can make sure we are spending time with them, listening to them, loving them and caring about them as though our reward will be to stand at the podium and have a gold medal hung around our neck.
Becoming an Olympic athlete may be far from our reach, but living with the Olympic spirit in our heart for our family is within our grasp. There is a four year span between Olympic Games in which athletes train and prepare in their sport. Our families can’t afford to wait that long for us to participate. We need to jump in the game now and fight to win at home.
See you at the podium.