Reflecting on priorities of family & work

Maybe I am Raising a Quitter…

And that’s ok. So I wrote this post over a year ago entitled, “I Ain’t Raising No Quitter” and then followed up several weeks later with, “UPDATE: I Still Ain’t Raising no Quitter“. It chronicled my son’s latest attempt to find a sport he enjoys – this time it was fencing. Well, this past weekend I listed all of his fencing gear on ebay. I struggled with this a bit after my big proclamation about quitting. Not only had we spent several hundreds of dollars on fencing gear, but I publicly swore that I ain’t raising no quitter.

Fortunately, it seems like it’s not so bad. Grit guru and MacArthur Genius Dr. Angela Duckworth was quoted in the New York Times this past weekend that quitting is actually ok for kids. Did I mention she is a MacArthur Genius? So, if she says it’s ok for her kids, it must be ok for mine.

To summarize her main points:

  1. Quitting is ok as long as kids do not quit on a hard day
  2. Elementary school kids should be able to last several weeks to a month
  3. Middle school kids should be able to last an entire season or year
  4. High school kids should be able to last multiple seasons or years

Check and check on numbers one and two. He lasted probably 7 or 8 months. It just didn’t jive with him. He tolerated it, but was definitely not passionate about fencing. He wasn’t particularly good at it either, mostly because he just didn’t care about winning. So, the search continues for a sport he enjoys and now we’re onto one which is much, much cheaper – cross-country.

I enjoy cross-country, too, which means we can run together. He also enjoys the analytics as he has a Google Sheet with all of his distances and times on it – a boy after my own heart. We’ve been running 1-3 times a week and have completed 2 5K’s together, including one this past weekend. He enjoys competing against himself and doesn’t worry about others. During the race this past weekend, we were about 2/3 of the way through and about to hit a hill. I pointed to a bunch of people walking and said to him, “Let’s go catch them” (something that motivates me). He shot back, “I’m just going to keep running my pace”. Touche (to borrow a fencing turn of phrase).


So, bonus – it’s a sport we get to enjoy together. He talks like he wants to continue doing cross-country in middle school and high school. And if he decides not to, that’s ok too. If Angela Duckworth has taught me anything, it’s ok for him to quit – just not on a hard day and only after he has shown some perseverance and effort. Yesterday was a hard day as the 5K was on the local high school cross-country course and was quite hilly. He was a trooper and ran almost the entire course while adults and kids around us walked the hills and even some of the flats.

And if anyone wants some used, children’s fencing gear, don’t forget to bid early and bid often.




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This entry was posted on May 3, 2016 by in Fitness, Parenting and tagged , , , , , , .


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