Olympians are admired for their world-class ability, discipline and prowess. As a mother, many of us use this standard to inspire our children. One moment our family is cheering on our favorite Olympian, the next we're using that hero to help to motivate or teach a lesson. "Olympians eat their vegetables..." "Olympians go to bed early..." (luckily we're still many years away from the well-publicized: "Olympians wear condoms...")
After a recent and revealing interview, gold medal-winning Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte has perhaps reminded us of two family lessons -- but perhaps not using the exact words that we would've chosen. To learn more about the inspiration and ambitions detailed in this article and Eileen Wacker's acclaimed book series, visit ONCEKids.
Lochte entered the London games as a relative unknown in a competition featuring one of the most famous athletes in the world: Michael Phelps. Rather than let his nerves get the better of him, he worked hard, trusted himself and earned his worldwide standing. This paid off as he won the gold over Phelps and others in several early games. This is of course brought his notoriety which he may or may not have been "media prepared" for. But the lesson: work hard, stay discipled and your dreams may come true.
Secondly, Olympians are human beings. Just like me, you and everyone else. While they excel to the highest percentile in at least one distinct way, they also have foibles. When first given his media attention there were many people to thank, many companies to endorse and many poignant ideas to share. For better or worse, the quote that received the most attention was how often and comfortable Lochte was with peeing in the pool. With so many comfortable athletes in the warm water for hours, it makes you wonder not the drug content in their blood. But rather the urine content in their communal bathtub. Practice forgiveness; no one's perfect. To find Eileen Wacker's acclaimed books, the Fujimini Adventure Series, click ONCEKids
My hope is the next time my son plays in our pool, I don't catch him smiling slowly with relief and then cheering, " I did it, Mom! Now I can be an Olympian too!"