When I began writing about giving up, or not giving up, I was unaware of just how many ways there were to look at and approach this topic. When I wrote a hypothetical story on Wednesday, I had a clear vision of the message I wanted to impart….yet….

When I wrote my tale of giving up, the message in my mind was that the person involved was too used to getting everything they wanted when it came to cooking, and got pissed off. Spoiled and gave up when things didn’t go her way. Too entitled.

But then, a few people wrote that maybe the cooker just didn’t like cooking anymore- they didn’t give up, they had just decided there were other ways in which they would rather spend their time. Which is a fair point- when the whole coloring book craze took hold I was all in- then it got routine and I stopped doing it. Ok- that’s a fair way to look at it.

Yesterday, I had the realization that some people do things because of the expectations of others, most often parents. Your Dad wants you to be the next Derek Jeeter, so you keep playing baseball whether you like it or not. Then, you get to a point where your parent is not looking over your shoulder and you quit. Another reasonable way to look at it.

But- the point that is buried in here somewhere is that everyone has a reason as to why something is the right or wrong choice. And each person has a unique perspective and motivation. And that’s the key as to whether or not you should quit something: what is YOUR particular reason , and how does quitting or not affect other plans in your life? (thanks to Ally for this succinct line of reasoning)

Ask yourself why are you quitting. Self analysis is hard for all of us: we don’t like to examine our motivations for doing things, yet sometimes you need to take stock. Are you scared of success or failure? Is it getting too hard and you don’t think you can keep up? Is there a person involved that you don’t like or is making it difficult for you to continue? Do you simply not enjoy it anymore? You need to look at why you want to quit, to see if it’s actually a “good” reason.

You also have to look at quitting as a pattern. This is why I have the parental no quit rule. I’ve seen kids try something, not become an expert at it after a lesson and then want to quit. I held firm because I wanted my daughter to know that you needed to work at things in order to learn things. She was not going to be Venus Williams after one lesson. You don’t pick up a racket and hit a winner. You hit shot after shot after shot until you have a reasonable forehand. You still won’t be Venus, but you can play tennis.

As parents, we have to make sure we don’t put undue pressure on kids to do things that we want them to do. Just ask me about my Mother making me take dance lessons when I was little and I hated dancing (still do) with a passion. Sometimes a kid just hates something. My Mother also had so many expectations of me, and it took a lot of years to get over trying to please my Mother. Her expectations, and my reaction to it shaped much of the worst parts of my life, accounted directly for mistakes and miscues that I made along my journey through life.

So basically, I’m saying that parents have to be really careful about imparting the right lessons to their offspring regarding resilience, persistence, knowing when to quit for the proper reason, and knowing when to keep plugging on.

What you do, or don’t do is an individual choice. Just think about why…..

27 thoughts on “How Do You Look at It

  1. Me and my son took up karate together many years back. He wanted to quit, like a couple weeks into it. I told him no, we were going keep going. I wasn’t so much concerned with getting a black belt- which we didn’t, we stopped at red belt- as with pushing through. I wanted my son to keep at it and commit himself and not give up just because it was hard.

    In the end, we did quit, together. But it was more a matter of he had so many activities going on and I didn’t want anything to affect his schoolwork. Plus, once he wasn’t doing it, I didn’t want to do it either. It was kind of our night.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a fine line when it comes to quitting. You want to understand that everything is hard in the beginning and requires work and dedication. That’s when you have to make sure your kid pushes through. You don’t let them quit algebra because it’s hard….you make them get through it. You don’t stop working because your boss yells at you…you persevere. It’s a tough balance

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  2. Knowing when to let your child quit and knowing when to push them is quite the question. I had a rule that they had to “finish.” That meant if they were on a team, they had to finish the season, if they were in a session of 8 or 10 lessons, they had to finish the session. That’s about commitment. Beyond that, we had several heart-to-heart conversations about wanting to continue when sign up time arrived. I’m pretty sure none of my children felt forced to participate in their activities or sports.

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    1. I was the same way. You had to finish the cycle. After the season or whatever was over,you could reevaluate. My daughter stopped piano when she took up clarinet because she knew she only had time to practice one instrument. It’s a balancing act of which reasons are good versus which are not so good

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  3. When someone is old enough to really understand self-reflection and self analysis then they must be encouraged, and in some parental cases, allowed to make the decisions for themselves. That’s how a parent teaches responsibility and helps a child mature.
    We all know, have even been perhaps, the parent who does not recognize when it is time to let individual choice become the rule 😉

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  4. When it came to my kids, I spent a lot of time questioning how I handled things like this. I cannot stand baseball (for a huge number of reasons), but it was expected in my family that the boys play. We introduced it, but didn’t push (me, probably even a little less than I should have BECAUSE I hated the sport), but I supported them when they wanted to do it and then when they were ready to quit. I even supported my daughter when she wanted to play, but we were forced to put her in softball (huge rant there, but I’ll not start it) and she just wasn’t much of a fan. So, from the side of “I’d really prefer my kids just NOT” with regards to baseball, I had to look at my motivation and get over myself to let them do what they wanted.

    When it came to my daughter dancing, I’ve probably driven her up the wall over the years, double, triple and quadruple checking that she was doing it because she wanted to for her and not because it was something I wanted her to do. It is something I would have been over the moon to do growing up but wasn’t allowed, so I was careful about not being too pushy. I had to really examine this when she first started pointe. After 2 classes out of about 9 months worth of classes, she cried and really didn’t like it. Because we paid per quarter, I would have been okay with her finishing the quarter and being done if that is what she wanted. I told her to give a chance and we’d talk about it at the end of the quarter, but if she got into the second quarter and they had ordered costumes, she was in it for the rest of the year because we had made that commitment at that point. She struggled with it and her decision for weeks, but decided to stick with it and finish out the year. We both thought she was done with it, but she stuck with it when it was time to sign up the following year. I again, had to check in to make sure it is what SHE wanted and not because she felt like she’d disappoint me if she didn’t do it, but she was adamant it was what she wanted. It is now, several years later, her absolute favorite class.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s no simple answer. We want our kids to find their thing, and we want to give them appropriate encouragement, but we don’t want them to hate things, but learn that sometimes they need to get over the hump.

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  5. This week’s discussion has been interesting.
    I think there’s a distinction between “quitting” and “letting go.” I see letting go when we realize perhaps that the dream/goal/position we were chasing no longer fits us or fulfills us, or perhaps it wasn’t really ours, but an expectation someone had for us. Letting go allows us to move on to what’s next for us.
    I’ve also seen letting go when, at the end of life, someone stops fighting and opens to their death with grace and acceptance. Sometimes our loved ones don’t want us to quit, but we are ready to let go.
    Quitting creates a hole–perhaps only temporarily. Letting go opens up a space and invites something new and right for us to enter. We quit with a closed fist. We let go with an open hand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great distinction. Sometimes we need to let something go, just because it didn’t evolve with us as we grew. That’s what we need to think about when we face a decision or fork in the road…are we doing it because it’s the rational or healthy option, or is it because we want to escape or take the easy route

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  6. This is a tough one. I didn’t push my kids one way or the other but I let them try lots of different things once in when it started getting tough I told them they could quit(only when season was through, no abandoning a team) but I wasn’t going to bring them back. They had to decide if it was important to them. Both my parents played tennis I even had one in my own backyard, but none of us ended up playing, dad wasn’t the best teacher. I am afraid I can be a perfectionist (with myself only) and if I do not do well at something right away I stop. I am working on this(hence the blog and writing) although I have told no one except people reading this blog that I am attempting to write short stories and a possible novel. Don’t want to admit to it if I fail I guess. A work in progress as we all are.

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