Our family has been watching TV like crazy the last few days (though I think we're probably still below the national average of hours of television viewing). We've had trouble because we don't usually watch it and something is apparently on an energy-saving timer so it turns off after a while. The Winter Olympics are to blame. It's honestly been the first time we've watched television in a long time.
I've said it before, but I don't watch a lot of sports on television. I generally just don't take the time to do so. But the Olympics is my exception. Our children are both old enough to enjoy it this year. We didn't get out our world map like we have in the past, but they've both done work on the flags of the nations in school so they have an idea of where the countries are.
The games started on Thursday this year. We had a family from school over for supper and to watch the games (their washing machine was broken so I had offered the use of ours--I had made some lasagna to cook the night before and I knew the games were starting, so it all fell into place nicely).
We let the boys stay up late on Friday night to see the torch being lit. They enjoyed the parade of nations and seeing all the countries and their outfits.
The winter sports are something we enjoy in Minnesota. We have to. We have almost half the year with below freezing temperatures (okay, maybe not that long, but close!). You have to enjoy outdoor winter sports to survive winter here. At least our family does--it's too depressing to stay indoors all winter.
So we sled (though we've only gone once this winter). The boys have been enjoying ice skating and hitting around a hockey puck, especially Nils. We've done a little cross country skiing (thanks to a very affordable family pass at a nature center in the Twin Cities). We even (kind of) tried curling at the Art Shanty Projects last weekend.
No matter what debates there are around the Olympics and it's politics, I appreciate that the nations of the world come together to compete and have fun. The conflicts of the world seem to fade away for a few days. We learn about places in the world most of us know little about. We hear the stories of overcoming challenges and triumphs. We can cheer on the athletes no matter where they're from or what politics, religion, or ideology they stand for; we cheer them on because they're good and this is their chance to do their nation proud.
Ice, snow, and bitter cold is no reason for lack of exercise (but poor clothing is). I recognize the irony that we're spending more time in front of the television because of the Olympics, but they're also encouraging my sons to spend more time skating and skiing and playing outside. That's a good thing in my book.