Raising Quitters

Josh The-DadMile Markers

I have three adult sons. Each is a quitter. Being a quitter is not always a bad thing.

Since my children were young they had the opportunity to try new things from playing soccer to playing in the band. They also had the opportunity to decide when enough was enough.

Don’t get me wrong. Watching T.V. and playing video games all the time was not an option, and there were areas of life my boys were not going to quit no matter how much they kicked and screamed. My boys were not going to quit school. They were going to do their homework, like it or not. They were going to be polite and respectful to teachers and people in authority. And they were going to live by the rules of the house so long as they lived in our home.

But there were plenty of areas of life where my boys had choices to make. They could try new things. They could join this and that. And they could quit when enough was enough. No guilt. No shame. No burden or pressure. Of course, they would be respectful. They would communicate clearly. But they could quit if they wanted.

My boys were brilliant soccer players. I don’t mean good. I mean brilliant. They were each drafted on all-star teams. But one by one each of them quit playing soccer for the sake of new interests. Oh, I grieved. But it was their choice to make. They quit.

One of my sons wanted to quit the band. He played the saxophone. He was very good. But one day he said, I want to quit. I took him out for dinner. We talked for two hours. I encouraged him to try a new instrument. In the end he said, “I want to quit the band.” It was his choice to make. He quit.

Two of my boys were drafted to play on a travel hockey team out of Arkansas. After traveling to Dallas, Texas and back, and staying in a hotel, my boys had had enough. They quit.

One of my boys joined a fraternity – and then decided it was not for him. He quit.

Of course it would not be healthy to quit everything. Neither is it healthy to be stretched to the limits. Good Dads will listen to their children and help them make good, positive and healthy choices. Together, you and your children will learn that quitting is not always a bad thing. My boys know that if they have difficult decisions to make they usually get a steak dinner out of the deal!

I am proud of my boys. They are adventuress, able, and independent. This year my oldest went on a ski vacation to South America. My middle son went to the Dominican Republic with friends. And my youngest went to Denmark and Sweden – and was certified in Scuba Diving!

My boys have quit their way to a balanced, healthy life.

Jeff Sippy, a Dad-In-Training, is the father of three young men and the husband of Cindy. He enjoys sailing every chance that he gets. He is the senior pastor at Redeemer Lutheran in Springfield, MO and can be reached for question or comment at jsippy@rlcmail.org