What Olympic Hockey Taught Me About Parenting

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hockey olympic graphicLeave it to a man to make a sports analogy for parenting. Let alone an analogy using Hockey, of all the barbaric, violent sports out there. It’s not just a sports analogy though. It’s an Olympic sports analogy, and we can all relate to that. There’s something about the Olympics. Most of us will sit and watch multiple sports that at any other time, we would never give a second glance.

The Olympic “Miracle”

Possibly one of the most dramatic Winter Olympic stories ever, is the tale of the U.S.A amateur hockey team that won the gold medal at the 1980 Lake Placid Games. Funny thing about this story is that I was a newborn infant when it happened. There was a movie made a few years back, “Miracle,” that chronicled the inspirational story.

The 1980 U.S.A. Hockey team was made up of amateur hockey players. There were far more skilled teams in that Olympics. No one in the world expected them to go very far, let alone beat the favored Soviet team for the gold medal. They were a talented team of players but when assessing talent, skill and the team’s time together on the ice, they simply did not match up.

It’s been said that it was their unconquerable spirits, will and desire that carried them to the gold medal podium. When the team was awarded their medals, the podium would only accommodate the team captain. However, after the presentation of medals and the national anthem, the U.S.A. team captain invited each member of his team to join him on the podium.

In the closing scene of the movie “Miracle,” there is a short narration that talks about what this medal meant to the team as well as the nation as a whole. That gold medal was a symbol of the triumph of desire over strength. It was a call at the time and even now, for people to dream and seek great things, even the impossible. Desire was the element that made the impossible, possible. There was an unmistakable message that when we desire and believe, miracles happen.

Believe in TRU Parenting miracles

Sometimes as parents, we feel overwhelmed. We feel like there is little we can do to improve things. We feel like our kids, other parents, endless piles of laundry and dishes, or just our own expectations of parenting are that favored Soviet team that everyone know is just going to crush us. Here are a few things we learn from the 1980 Olympic hockey team about experiencing miracles in our life and parenting.

1. Desire: We’ve got to want it! What happens in our heads plays an enormous role in how our interactions with our families roll out. Desire and believe that you can meet the challenges of parenthood positively. Trust that your children will respond.

2. Prepare: Our foundational desire moves us to prepare and do everything within our power to be ready for the good and the bad, the simple and the difficult. Growth happens over time. It’s not a sprint. Pace yourself but be active and deliberate about purposeful personal and parenting growth. Like athletes, when you put in the hours of learning and practice, it trumps talent and simple natural ability. Malcom Gladwell made the “10,000 hour rule” famous in his book “Outliers.” That rule states that it takes approximately 10,000 hours for a person to master and become an expert on a chosen topic. Parenting is no different. It requires positive practice and mindful improvement.

3. Luck: “The harder you work, the luckier you become” (Thomas Jefferson). There is an element of luck in parenting because we can’t and shouldn’t control what others, namely our children, think, feel and do. However, we can certainly have powerful influence upon them as we work hard on interacting in positive ways. Thomas Jefferson’s quote above illustrate the fact that opportunities present themselves as we are prepared to recognize and act on them.

4. Hard things are good for us: Conflict and opposition actually give us greater potential for growth. When we meet a challenge with optimism and grace, we personally learn, trust is established and relationships are enhanced. Without struggle, we rarely experience the depth of character and associations we do when we go through adversity.

5. You will never know your impact: The 1980 U.S.A. hockey team had a powerful effect upon a whole nation. They were simply trying to do their best, but by doing so, they impacted millions of people. In the same way, what we do each day has a powerful effect on our children, whether we know it or not.

6. Share your successes: I love how the team captain of the hockey team shared that moment. He could have simply stepped down after the ceremony and no one would have thought poorly of him, but he and his teammates had experienced this miracle together. When we have these miracle moments with our kids, share the podium with them. Express your thanks for what they did to solve a problem or apologize. Parenting is not just something we do but it’s a team effort with our kids. They should get some recognition for a job well done.

As we watch the Olympics in anticipation, and cheer on our respective nations, look for the inspiration and miracles that can also give insight into our lives at home. Search for opportunities to point out incredible characteristics of devotion, perseverance, sportsmanship and so many others. Remember the representation of desire and belief, hard work and shared victory. Apply these great principles and watch for miracles!

Question: What event in the Olympics does your family never miss?

Don’t forget to download your FREE copy of “5 Jump Starters for Powerful Family Cycles: Creating Happier and More Effective Parenting THIS Week!”

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