I wonder how many times in my life that I have felt like giving up? Heck, it might be easier to figure out how many times that happens in one day. Discouragement, inadequacy, fear of failure are all natural and something that one needs to learn to deal with as they mature. Life is full of ventures into the unknown, expectations that seem unattainable. Yet we make it, we survive, even succeed despite ourselves, the will to continue on without giving up a key to most successes. Those successes are how we learn.
My son wants to be the best at everything he does. At 15, that is a tough goal, especially since that boy has not learned to do the work to accomplish his goal for success. Oh, he puts out the effort in short spurts, but wears down quickly as discouragement drags him down. He just does not have the experience to see things through.
Forget listening to dad. Dad says to stick it out, put in the hard work, see what happens in the future. Forget that. My boy wants it now. Vehemently. Often with an impatient rage that stems from discouragement that spirals out of control and takes over. Irrationality sets in.
And makes him want to give up.
Last night Nate lamented that he wants to quit golf. He played a tournament on Thursday and Friday, then again last evening. None of the three were a success. Nate struggled with his irons, previously a strength of his. Reminding him of how well he has done in the past, how much he has progressed already this year (the kid can drive 250-275 yards straight up the fairway, consistently) does not help, nor does it help to remind him of the inconsistencies any golfer has to deal with.
“I want to play football, Dad”
Nope. We have already shelled out too much money for golf this year. Football will take even more and likely with less results. My experience says that if he quits now, he will regret it when he (finally, if ever) makes it to adulthood. I quit the varsity basketball team my senior year of high school with just a few games left in the season, something I regret if only because I let myself do something I don’t like to do — quit. I am never going to encourage my son to quit.
That really is not easy to do. I do not always lead by example, but often I do.
I wish my son could fast forward to being an adult, so I could tell him about the challenges I face every day, the possible discouragements that seek to take me over. He is not going to understand them now. If I could tell him how I feel doing a job I often don’t feel qualified for but know I have to keep doing, simply because that little voice that tells me to give up is covered up by a larger voice that reminds of what I do well, the strengths that I have. I wish I could tell him about the discouragement I feel when he lambasts me for not giving him that smart phone he wants or the expensive golf lessons or the premium cable TV package.. the list goes on.. and how I wish I could just give him everything he wants, yet I know he will learn nothing and not mature beyond an entitled child if I did give him everything. I wish him how hard it is to hold on to marriage when it feels like nothing is given in return, when I can’t see the benefits of holding on.
Then again, maybe he needs to learn that lesson. There are times where the best thing to do is quit. For example, I likely held on to my last job far longer than I should have. The same might apply to my marriage. If I think about it long enough, had I learned to quit when I should, my life might be a whole lot different, maybe better.
I know that is not right. He should never quit.
Maybe I should think more about this one….