Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

Quitting has a bad reputation. It’s perceived to be giving up on your dreams or on yourself. It’s what you do when you’ve run out of willpower, support or talent. It’s that thing that losers do. Whatever else we do in this life, we’re supposed to never, ever give up. Quitting isn’t an option.

But that’s not what I’m teaching my kids.

There is a moment for quitting. Every adult knows this, but we like to pretend our kids are the exception to the rule. We will keep them pushing forward. We will be SURE they are successful. We won’t allowing quitting in our house. And then we realize we’ve backed ourselves into a miserable, unrealistic corner with no way out.

Quitting is sometimes the exact right response to realizing we’ve gotten everything valuable we can gain from that experience. You started your child in dance classes, then realized she’s uncoordinated, hates performing, and the whole experience is costing you the money you could be saving for a family Disney vacation. Maybe it’s time to quit. Your son starts the trombone, but he also starts basketball, Boy Scouts, and the chess club. Maybe something is going to have to give.

When we frame quitting as failure, we make our kids feel like they’ve lost out on something when the truth is that it takes a lifetime of starting and quitting to figure out what you love, what you’re good at, and what inspires your passion.

After over a decade of lessons, countless hours spent practicing and a financial investment by my parents that I’ve never felt ready to try to calculate, I quit the violin. I can’t say I ever really enjoyed it, but I stuck with it. The guilt from quitting was pretty heavy, but the relief was tremendous. I’ve never really regretted quitting, although there are still times I wonder if I’ll someday want to pick it back up again. 

I’m glad I started the violin. I’m glad I practiced. I’m glad I developed those skills and the relationships I gained through the activities I did with my violin. And I’m glad I quit. 

I think we would be well served to approach some of our activities, passions and hobbies in a similar manner to the KonMari method of tidying up. We can evaluate that activity and if we decide it is no longer bringing us joy, we can thank it for what it gave us and we can move on without guilt. I want to practice this and I want to teach it to my kids. I want to recognize there are seasons to what we feel passionate about or what we want to accomplish. Quitting is a necessary part of making room for the new in our lives. We don’t have to quit in bitterness or anger, but with thankfulness for what we learned through the process.

If we started activities knowing under the right circumstances we have the freedom to quit, I think we’d feel more comfortable trying new things. That exercise class isn’t a forever commitment. Those voice lessons might be fun for a season, but don’t have to turn into something more. It can be okay for my kids to try soccer this year, then basketball next year.

There are precious few things I don’t want my kids to quit. We will keep pushing through even when school is hard. If they have made a commitment to a team, we will fulfill that commitment before reevaluating. If I paid to rent that instrument for the year, let’s finish out the year. Church is a nonnegotiable, even when it takes time you’d rather be doing other things.

There are many ways to teach our children faithfulness and perseverance. We don’t want them to give up before they’ve gotten what they needed to out of an experience. We want our kids to press on even when things are hard because rewards are often just on the other side. We can emphasize the joy and beauty of working towards a goal and we can also show them the wisdom in letting go of the goals that weren’t right for us. 

So I’m raising quitters. Kids who quit with thoughtfulness and intentionality. Kids who won’t carry guilt for recognizing when it’s time to move on. Kids who aren’t scared to try new things because they know not every activity has to be a lifelong commitment. For some of our over-scheduled, hyper-committed, exhausted kids, maybe a little quitting is just what they need.

You may also like: 

Dear Daughter, Do Not Be Perfect

I Am The Keeper

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Maralee Bradley

Maralee is a mom of six pretty incredible kids. Four were adopted (one internationally, three through foster care) and two were biological surprises. Prior to becoming parents, Maralee and her husband were houseparents at a children’s home and had the privilege of helping to raise 17 boys during their five year tenure. Maralee is passionate about caring for kids, foster parenting and adoption, making her family a fairly decent dinner every night, staying on top of the laundry, watching ridiculous documentaries and doing it all for God’s glory. Maralee can be heard on My Bridge Radio talking about motherhood and what won't fit in a 90 second radio segment ends up at

Simple Moments Shape Childhood

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy in shallow water of beach

Sometimes it’s the little things that can turn out to be the biggest things. Motherhood has made me appreciate the everyday moments, the simple moments, differently.  Being outdoors with my boys can be simple in theory, but I absolutely love the adventures we take. Whether we are hiking, biking, swimming, exploring, or checking out a new park, this momma knows it is time well spent.  RELATED: I’m Watching You Grow Up in the Little Moments Because whether they realize it or not, these memories being made are the special ones. The ones my boys will carry with them in their...

Keep Reading

I Promise to Show Up for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in garden

My child, I hope you know you can count on this: I will show up for you. I will show up when you wake in the middle of the night, when you get up too early or stay up too late. I will be there to make your meals, read you a story, and tuck you into bed. I will show up when you are sick—taking time off work, bringing you to the doctor, cleaning up your throw-up, and sitting up with you. I will show up at every game, sitting in the stands or a camp chair, freezing or...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Growth Is Tangible, and When It Is You Hold On Tight

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom putting bike helmet on child

I never expected my sign to come in the form of a plastic bag. As a parent, you’re told over and over how fast it all goes, to cherish these times because they’re gone in a blink. You see the gradual changes in your kids as they move through milestones. One day, they can hold their own spoon. They begin stringing words into sentences. Their ages are counted in years and no longer months. You watch these things happen every day, but I didn’t realize some transitions would come in tangible ways, like a grocery bag filled with wet swim...

Keep Reading

Some Nights They Need You a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping, color photo

Some nights they need you a little more, mama. Because of the bad dreams or the bogeyman they are adamant is under the bed. Because firefighter daddy’s schedule leaves him missing goodnight tuck-ins and bedtime stories several times a week, sometimes leaving them a little needier and more emotional. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need, My Child Because they are sick. Because they feel safe in your presence. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. It’s not always easy. It’s not always (okay, hardly ever)...

Keep Reading

Sweet Babies, I’ll Be There

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children lying in bed, color photo

When your world is calm and peaceful, I’ll be there. When your world is chaotic like an ice cream shop on the hottest day of summer, I’ll be there. When you need a Band-Aid applied and a boo-boo kissed, I’ll be there. When you want to perform in your Frozen microphone like you’re performing for a crowd of 20,000 people, I’ll be there. When you feel lost and alone, I’ll be there. When you feel you have nowhere to go, I’ll be there. RELATED: I Will Always Be There When You Need Me, My Son When you need a pep...

Keep Reading

I’m in the Big Little Years

In: Kids, Motherhood
black and white photo of little boy and little girl standing in a window together

I’m in the big little years. It’s when you’re no longer in the tender season of babies and toddlers—those sweet, smothering, exhausting years of being constantly touched and needed . . . . . . but you’re not yet in the big kid years—navigating boyfriends and driver’s licenses and bracing your heart for the impending ache of an empty nest. I’m somewhere in between. I’m in the years of having littles that aren’t so little anymore, but still need you for so much. They have big feelings. Big ideas. Big dreams. But they have mostly little problems (even though they...

Keep Reading

1-Year-Olds Are Wonderful

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
1 year old baby smiling

Newborns—who doesn’t love them?  The captivating scent of a brand new baby, their fragile little bodies laying so delicately on your chest. Everything that comes with a newborn baby is just absolute magic. But have you ever had a 1-year-old? I used to think the newborn phase was my favorite, nothing could ever be better than having such a tiny helpless little human rely on you for absolutely everything. I could hold my newborn for hours, soaking in every tiny little detail before it became nothing but a beautifully distant memory. But I’ve realized it’s 1-year-olds who have a special...

Keep Reading

My Kids Are All in School Now and It’s a Little Lonely

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman looking out window alone

I had just dropped my children off at school. All of them. My youngest has just started full-time. It was my first full day on my own since she began, and I had really been looking forward to it, so I took myself into town to do a bit of shopping and grab a coffee. Just me. The kind of days dreams are made of, right? I could suddenly breathe again.  I only had myself to answer to.  I got my latte and something to eat. And then I cried.  My eyes filled with tears as I sat in the...

Keep Reading

I Love You Even When I Say I Don’t

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter touch foreheads

“I love you even when I say I don’t.” These words came out of nowhere from my 5-year-old. I was standing in the bathroom with her (we still don’t like to go potty without mommy standing right there), and she wouldn’t look at me while talking to me. You see, my 5-year-old and I have been in more spouts than ever before. She’s found this new attitude in her first couple months of kindergarten, coming home with new phrases including, “No, I don’t want to–you do it.” It hurts my heart, makes me frustrated, and leaves me asking myself where...

Keep Reading

Big Questions at Bedtime Don’t Require Perfect Answers

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and child at bedtime

Last night at bedtime, my son asked why everyone has to die one day. The thought of my sweet 7-year-old grappling with the weight of such a question hurt my heart. He looked so small tucked under a fleece blanket, clutching his favorite stuffed panda. How could the same little boy who just started second grade wearing a space backpack stuffed with bright, wide-ruled notebooks ask such a thing?  Perhaps my children are more aware of the inevitability of death than other kids their age due to the passing of various family pets over the past few years, or perhaps...

Keep Reading