Walk Away: A Letter to My Child on Quitting

Dear Child,

I know that mommy can be hard on you sometimes. I was just so happy when you finally made the soccer team that you so desperately wanted to be a part of. I know how hard you worked to get there.

I also know that the team ended up being very different than we expected.

I know that daddy and I pushed you to keep going to practice day after day, even after you told us that you didn’t want to anymore, and it began to weigh on you emotionally.

We thought that if we kept pushing, you might find your passion again. We also wanted you to be a good teammate, learn from the experience, stick out tough things, and most of all, fulfill your commitments.

And all of those things are important. But there are other lessons that we need to teach you too.

I am not sure why we put so much pressure on you, dear child, to never quit, when adults walk away from commitments sometimes too. We walk away from jobs, careers, houses, friendships, and marriages … not because we are a bunch of quitters who never learned to fulfill commitments. In fact, the opposite is true. Sometimes we settle for things far longer than we should because we are afraid of walking away.

People will tell you that quitting is the easy way out. It’s not. Ghosting is easy. Being direct and honest with yourself and others about how something you once loved is no longer serving you is one of the hardest and bravest things you can do.

If the team (or job, relationship, etc.) is no longer good for you, walk away. If it is harmful to your physical or mental health, walk away. If you are not being treated well, walk away. If your values no longer align with the values of the institution or person, walk away.

The same is true if you are no longer good for the team. If you are so consumed by your own struggles—whatever they may be—that you are unable to perform your duties well or are dragging down those around you, walk away. The team may still have a lot to offer you, but you are no longer good for the team. Walk away and let them replace you with someone who is a better fit.

Sometimes walking away will be immediate and abrupt. Other times, you may need to give advance notice or stay until your team goes to the tournament so they aren’t a player short. For some, there is peace in just knowing that the end is near.

You see, sweet child, your father and I do not care if you are the best or worst soccer player in the world. I want you to try things, be committed, and stick out the tough things when you can.

But when continuing to show up begins to weigh heavy on your mind and your heart, I want you to rest easy knowing that it is okay to walk away from things too.

Be brave, my child.

Walk away.



One thought on “Walk Away: A Letter to My Child on Quitting

  1. Absolutely beautiful. I have missed your poignant writing so much. This part: “Sometimes we settle for things far longer than we should because we are afraid of walking away” is so true. It’s hard to figure out sometimes if we should let our kids quit or push them to stick with it. But you are so right. Sometimes sticking it out is damaging to mental health. If it’s not right, it should be OK to let it go.


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