This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
When do you let your child quit? As parents, it’s important to know the difference between quitting and moving on.
In the Gift of Failure, author Jessica Lahey asks, what if challenges prove insurmountable and it’s time to accept the fact that a career or even participation in a sport (or in music or art or any other interest) is not to be?
It seems that we are so caught up in the you-can-do-whatever-you-want mentality, that we forget there is sometimes value in knowing when to stop.
Not every child is destined to become a professional athlete (or singer or musician or artist) and as kids move up toward the more rarefied air of high school and college competition, nearly all of them will have to decide when to throw in the towel. When this happens, parents are tasked with the duty to help our children find the value in the experience, whether that’s fun, fitness, friendships, or the lessons they’ve learned in courage, failure, resilience, sportsmanship, and teamwork. These lessons are not lost just because they stop pursuing that interest.
None of us wants our kids to be quitters, and we all want our kids to understand the value of commitment to a team or a purpose. But the question remains, was the commitment made by your child? Or did you force your child to be committed?
And another question to consider is this: if your child is small and just starting out, does he or she fully understand what “commitment” means?
This is not to say that we should allow kids to quit mid-season on a whim, or in the middle of rehearsals for a musical event. it is merely to say that parents who believe they are building the character of a child who doesn’t even want to participate but who is only doing it out of obligation are in a nobody smiles, nobody wins situation.
If you don’t like the word “quit,” okay, then use another word. Maybe it’s time for a child to move on or try something new. Maybe it’s time for something to end and something else to begin.
Don’t get so caught up in the curse of quitting that you forget to strive for what’s truly best for your child’s growth.