Unless you were severely neglected as a child, or possibly raised by a pack of wolves, it’s likely that you’ve heard the rallying cry to “Never Quit”.
Having been raised by a single mom, I not only heard this but I saw it acted out with a voracious determination every day. Needless to say, this kind of thinking was ingrained from an early age.
Unfortunately, modeling through encouragement and right behavior doesn’t always leave us with a clear understanding of “why.”
This is especially troubling when you actually face a challenge that can’t be quickly overcome. If you have a pulse, you know exactly what I’m talking about. When something doesn’t come easily, the least painful option is to simply quit.
Of course this is flawed thinking…but flawed thought can be so comforting.
Switching to Dad Mode
As is customary in parenting, our hope as dads is to avoid obscurity and plainly teach the value perseverance.
Now, this doesn’t mean we start cracking skulls when little Johnny says he doesn’t like football anymore. However, it may mean finishing off the season instead of throwing in the pads part way through.
It also may mean that we need to spend some time in thought about why Junior wants out. Could we, in our fatherly bumbling, be contributing to this? Maybe the half-hearted nature we display is rubbing off?
This could true, or we could just have a child that is extremely unmotivated.
No matter the cause, there are a several reasons for us to take our endeavors seriously:
1. Our kids will think we’re losers. Okay, “loser” may be a stretch. But, there is a certain amount of success that can be taught by our willingness to finish strong. It may not mean that we come out on top, but it will certainly mean that we kept pressing until we fulfilled our commitment.
2. We can create talking points for discussion. The whole point is that you create opportunities to dialog on the “why” of your actions. Having both victories and defeats, means that we can from a position of influence.
3. We remove hypocrisy from our parenting. Have you ever tried to encourage your child in something when you have zero practical experience yourself? Instead of trying to pull the “do as I say, not as I do” trick, you might try actually practicing your own advice.
4. Our families deserve our best effort. Sure, we sacrifice allot for our families…but they deserve every one! This means that when we make a go of it, we prove to them that they are worth our determination.
5. We just might grow in the process. It’s shocking, I know! When we finish what we start, it’s nearly impossible to miss out on growth and maturity.
Quitting Compared to Discovery
Let me be clear…there is a difference between quitting and moving on out of necessity. There comes a time in every dad’s life when you realize that a particular job, hobby, or sport, doesn’t quite fit any longer.
The trick is to differentiate between them. If your motives are right, then you can confidently teach your kids to do the same.
It may be a little daunting, but I know that you can do it (insert awkward man hug here)!