The parenting Olympics

The Olympic Games can stir up the competitive streak in us all, especially where our parenting is concerned, reflects Dad Matters columnist Sam Cummins.


Who doesn't love the Olympics? Stadiums, medals and Katy Perry. You get to be patriotic without romanticising war. Although with all the stadiums, marching, uniforms and medals, you could be fooled.

Mainly it's a chance for me, a non gym-going, atrophy suffering, sedentary skeleton to get a good look at God's beautiful creations in exercise wear.  Men and women, big and small, it's all there. Who's not mesmerised by the front on view of the Jamaican track relay team. Where too look? Nowhere, it appears, is safe. Asafa Powell, you deserve a medal for just being born.

I'd say your average parent is more competitive than a doping Russian, they just hide it better. Who crawls, walks, wees, rides and reads first. It's a contest all right. If you're not walking at nine months, toilet trained at 18 months, reading at three, you're not keeping up. 

This is close to home for me. I've got my own cycling Olympics going on, and I've just been pushed off the pedestal. 

My eldest son learned to ride a bike at three years and three months, and boy did I let everyone know about it. Gold Medal! That is until another mate's boy hit a straight three years, then another friend’s daughter: two years and 10 months old. 

Bronze ain't bad. But it didn't last. Two weeks ago another friend’s son (two years and six months old) rode unaided, with video to prove it. Drug test results pending, we're out. It hurts to lose, but it's been fun. 

So for the next two weeks, how about just wholeheartedly embrace your competitive side, that's what the Olympic Games are all about. Set up crawling races, spelling bees, sleep offs.

And take heed of what Martin Potter 1989 surfing world champ says - if you teach a kid to lose well, you'll teach them to well, lose. 



SamSam Cummins lives in the Bay of Plenty with his wife and three young sons. In his in-law's garage. Which pretty much sums up everything you need to know about him.
Click on the links to read Sam's 'no holds barred' perspective on people-movers, skateparks and sex after the new baby arrives.




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