February 20, 2014
Terrible violence is happening in Kiev as the Ukrainian government (closely aligned with Moscow) comes down hard on protestors who want closer ties to Europe. According to CNN (reporting information from “the protesters’ medical service”) the current death toll may be as high as 100 civilians with another 500 wounded.
Ukrainian skier Bogdana Matsotska (Graham Dunbar/AP)
Today, two members of the Ukrainian Olympic team, Alpine skier Bogdana Matsotska and her father and coach Oleg Matsotskyy, withdrew from the Games in support of the protestors and returned home.
“We wanted to wear black armbands to mourn the people who have died in Kiev, but the IOC told us it was not allowed,” Bogdana said. “In these conditions it is simply not possible to compete. We don’t feel comfortable here and we can’t compete.” Her father wrote on his Facebook page that he and his daughter were returning home “…in solidarity with the fighters on the barricades… and as a protest against lawless actions made towards protesters, the lack of responsibility from the side of the president and his lackey government, we refuse further performance at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.”
I greatly admire them both for prioritizing the well-being of their countrymen over a chance to win a gold medal.
Teachable Moment: The choices we make in life define who we are.
February 18, 2014
I don’t know a thing about the parents of Olympic Gold Medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, except of course, that they’ve gotta be crazy proud of their kids. It’s also safe to assume, because the two began skating together as young children, that they had tons of parental support. Did either their moms or dads pressure them to skate or push them to compete when the “kids” didn’t want to? I have no clue, but I do know that if Meryl and Charlie had hung up their skates at any time during the past 17 years, they wouldn’t have been in Sochi last night, thrilling us all with their exquisite and perfectly skated long program.
A few years back when Amy Chua was making the rounds with her controversial parenting guide, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom, I was asked by the folks at Education.com to participate in a Tiger Mom Debate by writing a response to this question: “Should kids be allowed to quit?” If you really knew me, you’d probably not be surprised that I opted to debate for “yes” with qualifications. For example, parents should require children to commit to their new activity for a reasonable trail period. When our daughter was in 3rd grade, she excitedly announced she wanted to play the violin. We rented an instrument and signed her up for a 3-month package of semi-private lessons. Three months to the day she excitedly announced she was ready to quit. We said “Fine.” and threw out our special set of Practice Time earplugs.
The Olympics are inspiring lots of kids to try something new. Skiing, skating, snowboarding. (Curling?!) When kids are up for exploring a new activity parents should encourage and support them, provided the challenges are age-appropriate and the risks aren’t unacceptably high – as in “Mom, I want to join the crocodile wrestling team!”
Teachable Moments: If your kid has big dreams (or any size dream) encourage him or her to go for it. Provide a realistic sense of the work involved. If they give it a shot and decide “This isn’t for me” praise their effort and breathe through any of your own disappointment. Remember, your kids’ dreams have to be their own, not yours.
February 14, 2014
Sometimes we’re down
Jeremy Abbott came down so hard on his right hip he just lay there, his music weaving on without him. But the crowd of Russians who adore skaters and know a thing or two about overcoming adversity would not abandon him.
They clapped in unison. They cheered encouragement. They sent a tidal wave of compassion across the ice aimed at the broken skater pressed against the wall. All that love, with its powerful mojo, washed over Jeremy and he stirred, got to his feet and glided forward into the hearts of the crowd. He skated the rest of his program, through the pain, like an angel in love.
Sometimes we are lifted so high
When he took his final bow, the crowd stood and roared their approval. Jeremy Abbott graciously savored his Olympic moment. Who needs a medal when you have this?
Teachable Moment: Life knocks us down. Love raises us up.
February 13, 2014
Love may be cruel, but gravity is heartless. Unlike Cupid, the big G isn’t out to make a fool of you, but it will get you no matter how long you’ve practiced, what you’ve sacrificed, how many prizes you’ve racked up, how much you want this one, or who is watching. It just doesn’t care.
Ask Shaun White.
Or Yuki Tsubota. (Speedy recovery, Yuki!)
Or Marreo Guarise.
Or Arianna Fontana and Elise Christie.
Didn’t see that coming
We are wired to wince. It pains us to see one of our fellow humans take a tumble. But when it’s our own child… man, that can be brutal. But even the most diligent snowplow parent, hell-bent all obstacles from their child’s path, cannot prevent gravity from doing its thing.
Teachable Moment: Your kids will fall. They’ll get hurt. Give them a hug. Kiss the boo-boo. Tell them you love them, you’re proud of them. And make sure they wear a helmet.