Im going to ask you a question, but first some background stuff to ponder…
So I’ve been doing some online study and generally enjoying it. A few weeks back however, I began this particular MOOC photography course, which was kinda daft when I ponder it now because I knew ahead of time that it would involve online group work. I have a huge aversion to group study, hate it beyond belief. Figured I’d outgrown that so sure I could do group work now. Nope! Still hate it. Then there was this thing that the video lecturer did, he waved his hands around and moved too much as he talked. Thinking in my already befuddled from group work panic that this is highly irritating, I begged him out loud to the screen when I had headphones on so it was actually loud that he please for the love of all things sane, stand still when he spoke and put those shimming jazz hands away!
Now I really love photography and the other course content looked great but that just wasn’t for me, be damned if I’d ever stop taking pictures because of one attempted course though, I know my limits of jazz hands tolerance. This got me thinking on kids and quiting things and all the stigma hoohar that their respective grownups ramble on about in earshot of said kids. As grownups we can step away from such things ourselves, we may feel a little guilt but in general quitting can be freedom from all the things that just are not you. I wasn’t scared to quit that photography course. It bugged me that I couldn’t push through the group work and wiggly lecturer because I’m willful and stubborn like that, but when I think of what continuing may have done to my love of the subject I know that I’m better off without it. I’m wondering now that if kids had the same opportunity to quit free from fear then would we still have so many adults in the world who fear/despise with unmatched passion things like, oooh I dunno… Mathematics? Whats with that, I love math, anyhoo… Pushing through when it’s clearly uncomfortable needs to be the person who is actually doing its choice, they may see the goal and want it more than air or they may not and quit because it simply isn’t them.
Heres the question, so what? So what if I choose a different photography course, or if I just keep on learning how I do now, with lots of practice and pinching ideas off my mamas photography pinterest board? So what if your kid quits a sport and wants to hang out in the library instead? Or even so what if your kid quits math at seven and a half? I know plenty of adults who have survived with nothing more than a few times tables and addition skills, if they wanted more they would find it because the goal would be important to them and part of them, they would find it lightning fast and take it in to get to their goals with more gusto than a kid who is forced through wanting to quit ever would. Likewise, from personal experience and that of family members, I can tell you that language arts is the same… you don’t have to know the ins and outs of “Streetcar Named Desire” or Shakespeare be happy in life. Point being, he’s/she’s the only one who knows what is truly them, or do you want them to be someone else? To don the public face of every generation before and then suffer because they forget who they are amongst all that fear? I wonder if we let kids be themselves from the begining if things like the “finding myself” epidemic of 20 somethings would disappear and they’d just get on with whomever it is they already are? (People NEED to like what they do, something has to hold them there. A goal or pure love of being who comes naturally to them.)
Maybe, who knows. I figure it’s worth a try at least. Put a few psychologists out of business. 😉 (Sorry to any in the readership)
I can hear from some a resounding “but then they are failures” like a temple gong through the interwebs and almost as religiously followed. Shut up, no, wrong. Quitting is different from failure. Failure is full of frustration, it happens when you actually want to do something and don’t quite get it yet. Quitting is for knowing when something isn’t you. You don’t want it or need it and it frees you up for other things. So please don’t pass on your fear of failure or quitting to your kids, or worse, mix them up. Being able to navigate both is a huge life skill, it is their ability to try again and trust their own inner voice when it’s time to move on. Think about that in other life scenarios like buying a house or living in domestic violence situations. They need those skills so let them practice as kids.
Put yourself in their shoes, then do what you would want a mentor to do. Be kind and just. Avoid fair… well that’s something for another Monday morning before coffee rambling. 😉