Is it ever okay to quit?

My son brought home the challenge homework last night. I should preface this by saying I’ve birthed a mathematical genius who sees the world in equations and can do complex calculations in his head that require a calculator for me. (he’s 7)

His fabulous teacher keeps him challenged by giving him different math homework that still works on the same skill. So if the class is learning to count by 2s, his homework is to count by 27s.

And he enjoys the math challenge and usually sails through them. But last night he was stumped. And I was stumped on how to explain it. There were a variety of obstacles in the way, the worst being that the worksheet wasn’t designed for a 7 year old’s handwriting. There simply wasn’t room for him to write 3 fractions without overlapping into the next problem set. And one problem of being a math genius is that you tend to be literal and a rule follower. His teacher hadn’t specifically said he could rewrite the math problems on graph paper, so he forced himself to try to squeeze his handwriting.

After 2 hours of working with him, I finally had enough. I needed to do the dishes and get the boys ready for dinner. So I called it. I know the teacher always gives the challenge homework with the caveat of do what you can, If it’s too hard, stop.

But my Tenacious J, refused to quit. He HAD to finish his homework. And I was torn. Was it okay to tell a kid to quit? Working through challenges builds life skills. Telling him it was okay to quit felt wrong on my tongue.

And I thought about all the unpublished writers out there, writing and struggling to get published. Some quit. It’s just too damn hard. But some don’t quit. They quit in a good way by putting a manuscript aside. Or querying a different publishing house. Or changing genres. Not quitting is what gains success. So the message today, is be like my son. If there’s something you want. DON’T QUIT. Don’t pound sand either, find a strategy. If over doesn’t work, dig a tunnel.

Have you ever quit or wanted to quit something. I have- and I can share that story later.

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