I stand in front of you a quitter, and an unabashed one at that.
Just a few of the bigger things I’ve quit in the past couple of decades:
I quit college when I realized it wasn’t the right path for me. I was going to college for all the wrong reasons (mostly having to do with other people’s expectations), and I realized that I was spending a lot of money on a degree that I didn’t actually want, and certainly didn’t need. So I quit.
I quit my job to become a stay-at-home-mom. This one surprised me, because prior to getting pregnant with Spencer I took for granted that I’d just take a maternity leave and head straight back to work. But then I got pregnant and I suddenly knew – with 100% certainty I might add – that I was meant to stay home. I KNEW. And that was it. So I quit.
I quit going to a church that wasn’t meeting my needs. People leave churches for all kinds of reasons, and I was no exception. There were many many factors at play for sure, but the main one was that it eventually came to light that the particular church we were going to made me feel like I was getting further away from the loving nature that God would desire from me, rather than closer to it. So I quit.
I quit living in a place that no longer felt like “home.” Again, lots of factors. And an undeniably huge decision, especially since it was one that affected a family of five (soon to be six). I’d tried to make it work. I did. But we weren’t happy, and we needed to be somewhere else. So I quit.
Perhaps more important than any of the above, I quit letting other people’s opinions matter more than my own. I quit letting others have a definitive say in what path was or was not right for me. Of what did or did not constitute success. Of what I would try or what I would start… or what I would discontinue or what I would stop… or when, or where, or for what reason. I quit letting others tell me what my parenting should look like, or my marriage should look like, or my faith should look like. I quit letting my worth be defined by my mistakes, and I quit letting my breakthroughs be overshadowed by my failures.
I hear so much today about kids and quitting, and what we’re really teaching them if we “let” them quit the baseball team that they no longer enjoy, or the Sunday school class that isn’t what they were expecting, or the violin lessons that were never their idea in the first place. They need to learn to see things through to the end! They need to learn to persevere in the face of adversity! And the thing is, when they feel confident and safe and supported, they will learn both of those things, when it’s important to them. Forcing a child to finish something that is no longer right for them may very well teach a very different lesson than the one you’d intended.
Sometimes I think that letting your child know that there are times when it’s not only okay to quit but that it’s sometimes GOOD – and healthy and smart - is one of the most important things you can ever show them.