I Quit

We’ve all been there, at the end of our rope, unable to continue, with no more stamina or will to carry on within us. We’re done, we’re beat, we’ve given all we have and have no more to give. We have to stop. We quit.

It’s not an easy place to be. There seems to be nowhere left to go. Quitting can feel like stepping into a hole. It feels confining, dark, with no future. It can feel dishonorable and cowardly but sometimes necessary and the only recourse possible.

We are taught by society to never quit, never give up, yet we know there are times when leaving a situation is the only right rational answer. How can one reaction be such a conundrum? How can one answer be so wrong and yet so right?

My little neighbor Dylan, who is four years old, plays T-ball. He told me the other day he was grounded because he quit playing during a game. I asked him why he stopped when he did. He said, matter of factly, he just didn’t want to play anymore.

Did he mean he didn’t want to play T-ball any more? Oh no, he loves T-ball, he was just tired and wanted to sit down and rest for awhile.

And right there is where we find the crux of the issue. Dylan had made a promise to play the game. He was honor-bound to finish it, if at all possible. To quit in the middle of the game is a disgrace and is shameful. Dylan’s mom was punishing him for breaking his word and not supporting his team as he said he would.

Now if Dylan had wanted to stop playing T-ball all together, he could have talked to his mom and dad. Then he could have honorably stopped playing by resigning from the T-ball team.

There is a huge difference in how we stop an activity and how we take our leave. We can do it spontaneously in the moment, at a whim, which will probably be regrettable, or we can make plans and schedule and organize an ending.

Quitting in a high emotional state often does not go well. We don’t think at our best when tempers are flaring and tears are flowing. We do things and say things we regret later – quitting can be one of those things.

Not that leaving isn’t sometimes necessary but it can be done better with more positive results for everyone.

Those two words “I quit” can be pretty powerful. They should be used wisely, in a controlled prepared environment, not dropped like a bomb on an unsuspecting audience.

They should never be used to hurt or control or punish. Two simple words used only to end an activity at its appointed time and place, when a person is done, has reached their goal, accomplished their job or realize they are in the wrong place.

No more, no less.