Two days ago, Alexandre Bilodeau of Canada won the Olympic gold medal in the men’s mogul event at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. It is his second gold medal in the event in two consecutive Olympics. That, all by itself, is an extraordinary achievement. It’s also a splendid example of superior brain organization and peak performance.
I love talking about physical performance and its relationship to brain development but I’ve already written about that here. Instead, today I want to focus on the much bigger story. There are so many lessons to be learned.
What makes this gold medal win THE story of this Winter Olympics is the heartwarming relationship between two brothers, one physically superior, the other brain-injured and physically disabled. Functionally they are polar opposites. Yet, amazingly, the Olympic hero attributes all of his success to his disabled brother!
That kind of perspective and attitude doesn’t just happen out of thin air. It happens as a result of superior parenting and what author, Christopher de Vinck, calls the power of the powerless. Kudos to Alex and Frederic’s mom and dad for setting the tone in the Bilodeau household! By encouraging and helping Frederic to be the best that he could be, despite the obstacles in his path, they taught their children lessons in diligence, discipline, perseverance, patience, tolerance, compassion, dedication, service, success and failure.
By not just accepting Frederic but embracing him they taught their children that each of us has worth and dignity regardless of how we function.
Ultimately, these are all lessons in love made possible by the anthropological reality of the family bond. Fortunately, Alex and Frederic’s story is not as rare as it might seem. We have the privilege of witnessing this miracle of love on a daily basis. The best human beings we know are the parents, brothers and sisters of the children we work with.