Olympic Moms Teach You How To Raise a Successful Child
By Kathy Zucker
This summer, the Olympics were all about the moms. Media coverage ranged from moms who compete with toddlers in tow to a salute to the endless years of laundry and accompanying kids to practice.
And then there were the financial sacrifice stories. From tales of bankruptcy to an exorbitant tax on medals, parents across the United States now know that the cost of raising an Olympic athlete is very high even in the obscure sports.
Becoming an Olympian is incredibly rare. The United States sent a total of 530 athletes to the 2012 London Olympics. In a country with over 300 million people, most of us will never meet an Olympian or touch an Olympic medal.
The smallest thing can derail qualifying to the Olympics. A strained muscle, sinus infection, torn ACLU or random chance can override years of training. I once attended a fencing national championship where two fencers were competing in side by side bouts that would determine which one would make the trip to the Olympics. The decision came down to mere touches, and wound up going in favor of the athlete who came out of nowhere to take the fourth spot from the fencer whose name had been on everyone’s lips that season as an Olympic favorite.
If making an Olympic team is so precarious, then what is the goal for parents of young children who are just getting launched in life? From choosing the right preschool to enrolling in afterschool sports, what is the message we are sending to these little people we so recently cuddled and sang to sleep?
I interviewed the mothers of two Olympians and asked them how they raised successful children. Fiona Imboden’s son Race, age 19, is ranked number four in the world and notched a major victory in Olympic competition over the French men’s foil team, a perennial medal favorite. Pat Lawrence’s daughter Maya, age 32, graduated from Princeton University in 2002 and then devoted herself to athletic training. With the top individual finish by an American plus a historic team bronze medal, Maya’s Olympic results far exceeded the expectations of the United States fencing community, this writer included.
Beginning next week, I will write about parents who made sacrifices but encouraged their kids to slow down, go to college, and make smart financial decisions while still pursuing their dreams.
Related – Maya Lawrence, Olympic Medalist: Exceeding Expectations in Sports & Life
Kathy Zucker, serial entrepreneur and mother of three young children, writes about juggling career and family in an urban setting. See what Kathy is up to at her blog and on Twitter @KathyZucker.
Tags: CHOICES, maya lawrence, olympics, race imboden, sports