Why all TV rules were off in our house during the Olympics

Image courtesy of Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When we moved into our house there was a TV mount on the kitchen wall. I wasn’t a huge fan, but we attached a small TV and it became our only one on the main level. To be honest, it’s been great during meal prep (when the kids are playing in the other room) or after the kids are in bed.

I really don’t like having it on during meals. Sometimes I crack during breakfast but dinner time is where I draw the line – usually.

For the past two weeks we have bent the rules and turned on the Olympics during dinner. I really enjoy the conversations we have with our daughter (big G) as we are watching – especially with the women dominating the games for Canada. Here’s why:

Watching the games is a chance for us to demonstrate our Canadian pride: I’ve said it before, we’re a patriotic family in general, but I can’t think of many other times we can point at the screen and say “look G there is a Canadian” (in fact, she now points out any red/white athlete assuming it’s a Canadian) and then yell at the screen and cheer on the athlete. It’s exciting and I want to share that excitement with our kids (little G is only 9 months so he’s still too young to understand). One of my favourite videos is of big G, just 16-months-old at the time, cheering on the Olympians in the 2014 winter games; “Go Canaga Go!”

It’s probably the only time we watch women compete on TV: Isn’t that a sad statement? But it’s true. We often cheer on the Toronto Blue Jays and Ottawa Senators, so big G is used to seeing those men on TV but I think we have only watched a women’s hockey game with G once and we never watch tennis or golf. It hit me when we were watching a Tai Kwon Do match with big G. I pointed out that it’s the same sport G did last year and she said to me “look mama: it’s girls!!” We watched the women compete in gymnastics but also soccer, mountain biking, wrestling, athletics and more. G loved seeing the women on TV – especially winning as often as they did.

I hope it lights a spark in our kids: I don’t actually expect my kids to be Olympic athletes but I do want them to be active. I want them to find an activity they enjoy and become passionate about it. When we watch these incredible athletes compete I think back to my childhood and how inspired I was after each Games. I remember pretending I was an Olympic gymnast on my neighbours’ front lawn, running and jumping and pretending I knew how to tumble (I didn’t), or sliding across the dance studio floor in my socks jumping and turning in the air as though I was a figure skater. I’m a terrible athlete but I grew up passionate about dance and spending countless hours outside. I want to foster that same kind of passion in my kids.

There is a lesson about working hard and being committed: as we watched the women’s mountain biking competition my daughter turned to us and said “I can’t even pedal my bike” with a pout. We explained that she will be able to pedal and when she figures that out she can learn to climb hills, scramble over rocks, and jump with her bike. We talked about how it just takes practice and a willingness to try (she’s not a fan of her pedals right now). She also hears us talk with amazement about what it takes for these men and women to do what they do. It really is incredible. We are in a serious “I can’t” phase so any chance to point out what you can do if you try is greatly appreciated.

My goal is to make sure we watch the Paralympics just as often so G can see nothing can hold you back from what you really want to do.

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