On Knowing When to Quit

“It’s hard for me to say,” he murmured quietly from the backseat.”

“Just say it honestly. Don’t worry about it.”

“I just don’t think I’m very good at it. And I’m not sure that it’s something I want to spend the time on to get better.”



And with that, I knew exactly what we had to do. It was time to find a new activity or, at least, take a break. He had devoted several seasons to this one and, well, it wasn’t fun anymore. While “we don’t raise no quitters ’round these parts,” we also know when it’s time to let a child move on and nurture other interests.




As I drove on and pondered his simple words, “I’m not sure it’s something I want to spend the time on to get better,” I was struck by their truth.


Because that’s the REAL decision, right? It’s not so much realizing you’re no good at something and throwing in the towel. It’s acknowledging that, in order to be good at this thing, it’s going to take some serious work and effort– and is it worth it?


I’m realizing that, for me, home decorating would be an equivalent.


I appreciate it.


I kind of like doing it, just because I get to hang out with some cool friends in the process.


But it’s not natural and, thus, it’s more work than fun.


In the end, the rewards aren’t worth it for me.


I gave up on having “seasonal mantels” or what-not in favor of other things. I claim it’s just because “I’m not good at that.”


But that’s not really the whole truth.


I could learn. I could be good at it. Or, you know, at least competent.


But I knew when to quit.


I’m so glad he does, too.



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4 comments to On Knowing When to Quit

  • Susan

    interesting topic. My son quit baseball after 8 seasons (fall & spring for 4 years). He just thought it was boring. I asked if he wanted me to sign him up for the next season and he said “no” he thought that he wanted to spend his time playing soccer, basketball and karate. I agreed easily because I hated wasting hours upon hours at every practice and game. Is it easier for the child to quit when the parent hates taking them to practices? Soccer and basketball have much shorter practices and game times. Just curious if that makes a difference to other families?

    • That’s an interesting topic too, Susan. I get what you’re saying. Honestly, on a very personal level, I’m super sad that he’s quitting the sport because the assistant coach’s wife is one of my best friends and the coach’s wife is a very good friend, too. I’ll miss having hours to chat with them each week. But, that said, that’s not a reason for him to keep playing. I can find other times to connect with my friends and he can devote those hours to building on skills that matter more to him. :)

  • When I started reading The Highly Sensitive Child, I realized that holy COW this is me in every way. And one of the things it said was very sensitive people are perfectionists in things they succeed in but not other things. I’ve always joked that I am like that. I am with you on decorating, cleaning, and some other things. I’m sure I COULD succeed in those things, but it would take a heck of a lot more work than just doing well the things that come more naturally to me.

    It’s a remarkable child, I think, who can recognize something like that in himself so young! But I mean, we already knew A was remarkable. :)

    • That sounds like a really interesting book, Jessie. (I think I’m kind of like that, too.) Honestly, I was really proud of him. It would have been easy to whine, “It’s too HARD…”, but he didn’t. He just admitted it wasn’t a natural strength and that it wasn’t worth the work– I respect that! (And, really, I’m thrilled he’s a runner– running is a great sport, too. :) )

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