amychilds upsidedown
Quitting and learning; learning and quitting.

Alex Polikowsky has quit lots of things and doesn’t consider herself a quitter. (Sidenote: even though her kids are always allowed to quit, her daughter Gigi has loved doing chores ever since she was one year old.)

Ben Lovejoy quit the military three times, which made it possible for him to work in the three branches of the air force, which is a rare accomplishment.

Penelope Trunk‘s career advice has been printed in over 200 newspapers, and she says the people who are the most successful are the people who quit things quickly.

Robyn Coburn says we can trust our children when they know it’s time for them to stop.

Sandra Dodd points out that parents should be looking at the child’s emotions and learning rather than looking at the things that they are quitting.

Leah Rose would rather have her children invest themselves in things that they love, because that’s where the learning happens. [And PS look in the comments section for an update about what happened the day after this interview!]

Babs-Merel de Visser grew up thinking quitting was not an option, with some painful repercussions. She’s still learning to be a better quitter, and found this freakonomics podcast helpful.

Carsie Blanton “doesn’t want to give the end away ♬  but we’re going to die someday.”

3 comments to Quitting

  • Leah Rose

    [NOTE: I sent this to Amy on the day she posted the “Quitting” podcast. I thought she’d enjoy this follow up story since in our interview I had mentioned our son had decided to quit Boy Scouts. Amy suggested I post the story here.]

    Just before the scout troop’s break for Christmas, when Adam finally decided to quit scouting, his buddy (whose dad is the leader of the troop) admitted to him that he also wanted to quit. Adam encouraged the boy to tell his parents, which the kid was afraid to do…thought his dad would “never let him quit.” Happily, the boy’s parents told him he could, indeed, quit…at the end of the scout (school) year. So he asked Adam to stick out the year with him. Adam decided, without any consultation with me or hubby, that he would. Which was fine. (His previous plan was to be done after an end-of-January weekend trip to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, which Adam had signed up for and wanted to go on.)

    Then in early January, when scouts resumed, Adam had second thoughts. He decided he really didn’t want to stay in scouts for five more months, wanted to quit meetings and have the Baltimore trip to be his last event. I was fine with him reconsidering, but I did press him to attend one last scout meeting as a courtesy to the scoutmasters and his friend, to let them know that he was done. He went to his “final” meeting and told his friend, who he said was not mad, but certainly wasn’t happy, either.

    The following week (the day after our interview) I asked Adam if he planned to go to scouts that night; I asked only because it was Gym Night, meaning they play games rather than do scouting stuff, and Adam generally had enjoyed those meetings. Contrary to my expectations (since he’d decided to be done with weekly meetings) he said “yes,” and then he told me that he had decided to stick with scouts till the end of the year. Surprised, I asked him why. He told me: “I decided I want to be the kind of friend who does what he said he’ll do.” I asked him if he’d talked to his friend about this, thinking maybe he’d been pressured or guilted into changing his mind. He answered “no.” They hadn’t talked, and his friend didn’t know yet. He’d thought about it and this was his own decision. I said fine, and that I thought it was a cool decision.

    Just goes to show that it doesn’t hurt a 12 year old to quit on his own terms, for his own reasons, and that adults need not force the situation to make sure he “learns the right lesson.” (And that said, if he changes his mind again, I’ll be fine with that, too, because he is both thoughtful and learning through the process.)

  • K

    I would love to listen to a podcast about learning music, arts and dance through unschooling methods. Learning an instrument, for example, seems to be a discipline that requires some type of rigid curriculum. It would be interesting to learn about other ways to approach those subjects.

    Thank you!

  • R

    This was such a great podcast for me to listen to. I’ve done so many things that I felt like I had to suffer through instead of quit as I felt like quitting was the worst thing to do. I finally did allow myself to quit and moved on but I now understand that it’s ok to quit and that you get what you get out of it and that’s what’s more important. When you are done it’s perfectly ok. This concept makes me feel so much better. Thank you for this!

    Also K if a person want’s to learn to dance or a musical instrument they can self “discipline” themselves if they want it bad enough. You don’t even need to start at 4 or 6 to be great at anything. I started piano at 13 because I really really wanted to and by 17 was accepted into a state college bachelor of music piano performance degree. My friend started at 16 and got her masters in piano. If an individual wants something bad enough they will find a way to do it especially if they have never been made to believe they can’t do the things they want. If the “discipline” is self directed the leaps and bounds are almost miraculous. Then I look at Tiger Woods who was forced into what he is doing from a very young age and as soon as his enforcer (father) died seemed to fall apart.

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