Quit­ting is not an op­tion ... yet

Plan is that per­sis­tence will pay off in the long run


“Dis­ap­point­ments are in­evitable. Set­backs will al­ways hap­pen. You won’t al­ways win a place. You won’t al­ways win a prize. You will not al­ways be the best. You will not al­ways come first. But there are more im­por­tant things in life.”

HAVE kids, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. Well, they would be wrong. At least, it’s not fun all the time. But then again, what is? With the Ip­swich Eisteddfod quite fresh in my mind (as it no doubt is for many other par­ents out there), let’s look at the ac­tiv­ity of learn­ing a mu­si­cal in­stru­ment. Yes, there must be some el­e­ment of fun. Af­ter all, what’s the point of learn­ing it if you aren’t en­joy­ing it? But at what point do you let you child call it quits? What hap­pens, if, af­ter hours of prac­tice, they don’t get a place in the com­pe­ti­tion? They are dis­cour­aged. They don’t see the point of it all. They start ques­tion­ing the whole point of the ac­tiv­ity. There’s talk of quit­ting. Do you let them quit? I say, no. Well, at least not im­me­di­ately. While the no­tion that you no longer have to lis­ten to some ques­tion­able mu­si­cal­ity if you let them quit is quite an at­trac­tive no­tion, what does let­ting them give up tell them about the chal­lenges they will no doubt face later in life? Do they quit all their ac­tiv­i­ties if they don’t win a place? Per­sis­tence, re­silience, pick­ing your­self up and car­ry­ing on af­ter dis­ap­point­ment are more im­por­tant than win­ning a place or com­ing first. Be­ing a good per­son, be­ing a good team player, im­prov­ing your own skills, be­ing bet­ter than you were yes­ter­day – these things are more im­por­tant than win­ning. As a par­ent, I want to raise a de­cent hu­man be­ing who is happy, well-ad­justed, em­pa­thetic, re­silient and who thinks. Let­ting them quit at the first dis­ap­point­ment or chal­lenge isn’t the way in which this hap­pens. Noth­ing is 100 % fun. Watch­ing your child strug­gle is not fun. Watch­ing them be dis­ap­pointed is not fun. But some things are worth the not-fun bits.


TEAM PLAYER: Learn­ing how to be part of a team is more im­por­tant than win­ning.

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