Sports and "Quitting" - Excerpt from Conversations with God for Parents

Excerpt from Conversations with God for Parents (Rainbow Ridge, 2015) by Neale Donald Walsch, Laurie Lankins Farley and Emily A. Filmore on the core concept that There Is No Such Thing As Right And Wrong and how it relates to “quitting.” (pages 99-102).

"Sports relate to a Core Concept?

Children should be encouraged to try whatever they are interested in without fear of failure, knowing that they can change their minds. It is more beneficial to teach them that it is better to try with the freedom to later change their minds; than never to try at all because they are afraid of failure (or is it actually our, the parent's, fear of failure that stops them?).

This may be a major shift in our consciousness. In the Old Cultural Story we hear the mantra "Don't be a quitter." But what does that mean, really? How can you ever really learn about yourself if you don't try a new thing? If you have to stick with everything you ever try you could easily have 200 activities by the time you are 12. Ha, Ha, Ha. We are kidding. We know that "Don't be a quitter" means you have to finish out a season. But do you really? Why? Will you internally combust if you don't? No.

Oh yeah, the reason is so that you don't "let the team down." That's right. The team. The almighty team. Is the team more important than the happiness and well-being of your child? Not to me. Is it better for the team to pull someone along against their will who doesn't want to be there, whose attention may be elsewhere, who is possibly taking a spot someone else might desire, who is probably resenting their time there and possibly directing negative energy at the experience? Makes perfect sense. Not really, it doesn't seem like that would be beneficial to anyone!

Oh that's right, "Don't be a quitter" works because if you quit a sport, activity or the like, it means you will never be responsible, never be able to hold a job, never take things seriously. Seriously, this is the pressure we put on kids? Sounds harsh and pretty unrealistic to me…

What about "doing things we don't like builds character?" We'll let you answer that one for yourself…but wouldn't you rather see your child build her character through love rather than struggle.

Okay, now that we have debunked the reasons for "Don't be a quitter" let's discuss what can happen when you assist your child in making meaningful choices about activities. The New Spirituality allows us, as parents, to understand that life has many choices and that we can change our minds over and over again, without fear. Further, it helps us understand that no way of thinking is wrong, even the choices our children make, with which we may not, initially, agree

Children and teens are learning about themselves, their minds, their spirits and their bodies. They are testing limits mentally, emotionally, and physically. They are finding out what they can do with their mind and physical bodies; how high they can jump, how fast they can run, how far they can throw, how well they can draw, write, do math, write equations, etc. They are growing and they are constantly changing. It stands to reason that changing their minds about something, after attempting it, is not wrong, it's not failure; it is a way to build character and their understanding about Who They Really Are.

Since there is no right and wrong, then, how do we go about showing this to our children? The old way would be to say something like this: "If you start that sport, or that project, do not stop or give up and don't quit! When you make a commitment it is wrong to abandon it, you will see it though!" This could give your child an understanding of your love and acceptance as conditional, as if you will be disappointed in him if he changes his mind because you see quitting as "wrong." Then, even, if he sticks it out to "the end" of the season, he may not only be miserable, it might lead him to feel distrustful of you, his parent, because he feels you didn't put his feelings first.

Also, if you start to program your child to look for the right and wrong of a situation, you take away the opportunity for her to make decisions for herself about how something comports with whom she wants to be. Instead you have just started to prescribe behavior rather than teach her to think. Her goal will then become to look to others for cues on how to act "right" instead of her own internal compass of how she thinks she wishes to act. By thinking for herself she has the opportunity to build her own character instead of reacting to what others think about how she should act. By the way, this trait in children that needs the approval and guidance of others is what people, charged with indoctrinating children into Cults look for – not that we are trying to insight fear – but making the point that impressionability is not a trait that leads to strong independent thinking.

Back to sports and activities, if they really love something that they, themselves, decide to try, they will continue wholeheartedly. You will not need to remind, cajole, and force them to go to practice. It's important to know that some kids may need encouragement to get started, but, you cannot push it after they have tried it out. Let them know that you noticed how hard they tried and how proud you are of them for their effort – not necessarily for results.

If they choose to change course (or quit) after starting the activity, it might be helpful to squelch your initial desire to say "I told you so," "That could be the 'wrong' decision," "Make sure you're not doing it for the wrong reason," or "Are you doing it right or for the right reason?" The most beneficial way to show them is to use your words softly, to guide them to an understanding of what works best for them within their own understanding of Who They Are and then, within your own means, assist them in getting there. Words are very powerful when we use them in a way that reflects choices and changes. It is helpful when we as parents are mindful of our own fears and what we "think" is right and wrong...and start to believe and respond with answers like: "What choice did you make? (or are you making) and how do you feel about that?" Encouraging and commending them for a good try and for knowing that they are wise to decide to change their mind may not seem like much to you, but it will give them confidence so that they know in the future they are equipped to make their own decisions."

Conversations with God for Parents is available where all books are sold and at Amazon: