What Norway Can Show Us about Keeping Families Connected for Generations

When one in five people in an area with a population the size of Cleveland win 8 of the 9 gold Olympic medals, it’s time to take note. There is an area in Norway that produces 20% of its Olympic winners. No other area can even come close to making that kind of claim. And it turns out that developing Olympic athletes is not an anomaly, it’s a tradition. Athletes are even sent here from other countries to digest the secret sauce in hopes of bringing back the Olympic gold for themselves and their country.

Norway itself has won over 300 winter medals, far more than any other country. Before you shrug your shoulders and think everyone grows up on skis, consider Sweden with twice the population, with less than half the medals.

What can we observe and learn from this that can benefit families in their quest to stay connected and relevant?

Experts believe that the hamlet of Trondelag supports and develops a culture of great skiers. Whether it’s cross country, biathlon, ski jumping, or snowboarding, the kids are brought up in the culture of this tradition.

Other skiers from other countries have exported their athletes to study and train in Trondelag but still those from the area win more medals winning 8 of the 14 at the recent winter Olympics. They come thinking it must be the terrain or the food or the water and leave without the secret sauce. The secret sauce is in the fostering of a purpose driven community. This small Norwegian hamlet supports and develops its very clear and revered culture. That’s huge.

The key takeaway here is that it is not one thing that will keep a community or for us, a family together, it is the culture. This culture needs to be defined, developed and nurtured just as it is in Trondelag, Norway.

In Trondelag, students ski as a community of people, encouraging each other from youngsters to oldsters. They grow and become better as a group through their individual triumphs and losses.

The Olympic qualifying skiers from Trondelag look like they are at the Olympics as individuals representing their country. But these skiers know they carry all the wisdom, support and standards of their hamlet. And even as they compete at the lofty and exclusive Olympic Games, these skiers compete as a team.

The winner becomes possible because all of them genuinely support each other even in their own individual pursuits. In addition, they know they represent a bigger purpose, a community culture that they ski for and return to live in. Now that’s family.

What do you take away from The Trondelag skiers that you can think about to strengthen your own family?

Leave a comment and tell me how you would like to grow your family’s communal culture.

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