Currently, I am in the process of directing a play for kids ranging from 4th grade and up, including two of my own children.
Now, the process has gotten off to a rocky start. Originally, I was going to direct the play The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald, but we had trouble finding boy actors. On top of that, another actor quit.
We were now short two actors.
So with time running out, I decided to switch gears and direct my own play called June is Fading. It relied on a smaller cast, and I could change it to fit the need of the cast.
Before we could start the rehearsal for that play, however, I had another actor drop out. Fortunately, I was able to replace that actor quickly.
Needless to say, it has been extremely difficult and demoralizing for the cast, and myself.
But there are lessons to be learned; lessons I’ve been trying to teach my daughters. Lessons I’ve been trying to learn myself.
The lesson is this: Don’t Quit!
When things grow difficult in life, for many people, myself included, the temptation is to give up. I'm sure all of us have felt this before. And probably, we’ve all given up on things. Sometimes you have to. Sometimes the circumstances are beyond our control. That is completely understandable. We’ve all been there. But I am not talking about those instances.
We’ve seen it happen in our lives. People giving up for whatever reason – legitimate or not. They’ve given up on marriages, parenting, professions, hobbies, dreams, and plays. The list could go on and on.
The sad truth is this - when someone quits, someone else suffers. (We are obviously not talking about quitting a bad habit or an addiction. Please, by all means, quit that.)
Sometimes, I think, we in America see nothing wrong with quitting. Parents sometimes force their children to quit. The excuses can be endless – too much homework, not enough time, didn’t like it, wanted to do something else, etc…
But in the end, what are we teaching them when we allow them to break a commitment? Are we telling them that when things get difficult, give up?
As an adult, the answers aren’t that simple. You can’t just walk out on a job when it grows difficult. The same goes with marriage and family.
Now some people will say, “Well, that’s a different case. Just because you quit one thing, doesn’t mean you will quit other things.”
I agree. But I also believe that quitting can be habit forming. It is also character forming. It tells the world that you can’t be trusted.
Quitting is character forming.
This is something I’ve seen in my children.
The desire to quit something because it is difficult runs thickly in mankind’s blood. But as a parent, one of my many jobs is to thin that desire in my children until it is barely traceable.
Quitters are rarely successful. As Douglas MacArthur said, “Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.”
It is something you cannot take back. Though you may leave the thing you quit behind, you cannot leave quitting behind. It will walk with you forever.
What credit is there in sticking with only those things that are easy?
In a world where giving up and quitting is commonplace, let us be those persons who stood out. Let us be those persons who rode out the storm. Let us be those persons who didn’t quit.
Scott Keen is the author of three young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers, Rise of the Branded, and War of the Downer King.