What to do When You Feel Like Quitting
You’ve seen the statistics; 1 in 10,000 students who begin training in a martial arts school, continue training and earn their black belt. So, what’s up with that? Martial arts teaches respect, discipline, confidence, perseverance; the list goes on and on. So, why in the world would someone start, love it, and then stop?
Here’s a common dialog:
The parent comes in and says: “Little Johnny / Little Susie just doesn’t like it anymore, he/she wants to quit. I think we’re going to pull them out.”
We ask: “What has happened? ______ does fantastic in class. When they’re here, they do amazing? Did we do something?”
Parent: “No, they are just tired of it”, or “They just decided that they don’t want to come, we’re going to let them decide.” (Side note: I don’t know about you, but if I gave my kids the option to decide about brushing their teeth, or going to school… they’d rather NOT. So, letting a 5 or 15 year-old “decide”… that’s the topic for another blog post. I digress. Anyway….)
Back to the convo:
We say: “Has your experience / their training here been positive for them?”
Parent, VERY TYPICALLY begins to rave: “This had been the best thing we’ve ever put our child into”, or “This is the best money we’ve ever spent on our child”, or “It’s completely turned our kid around, BUT they’re just not wanting to come.”
We say: “Parent, do you really want them to quit?”
Parent, almost 100% of the time: “No, we love what they get here, and how it has impacted them.”
One of our tactics is this:
We say: “OK, Johnny/Susie, give us 2 weeks, and if you still want to quit, you are responsible for coming to me directly and telling me that you quit.”
VERY RARELY, as in almost never, do we have a student come in and quit on their own. Typically they, when asked about quitting later, respond “no way!”
Did You Know Most Black Belts Wanted to Quit?
As a matter of fact, it’s actually RARE to have a student that at some point in their training, didn’t think or even feel like they wanted to quit. Most have had those feelings. There are two things that separate those who DO quit, and those who DON’T.
- Those who DON’T quit, have parents who encourage them through their down times. Sometimes with tough love. “You have a choice. You can either go to “this” class or “that” class.” Note the choice is WHICH class, but going to class or NOT going to class is NOT an option.
- Those who DON’T quit, “fake it till the make it”, meaning they get up, they get here, and they train. Then, they look up one day, and have completely forgotten that the ever wanted to quit.
Take a minute to watch this awesome video featuring Olympic Gold medalist Nastia Liukin. What powerful parenting advice. Tell us what YOU think.
Finally, here’s the thing. We’ve been doing this (teaching martial arts) for a very long time. As in 30+ years. In that time, we have trained many, many students. And, are now training children of our past students. It’s truly a blessing. In all these years, we have NEVER had a student come back and say, “I’m so glad my parents let me quit.” We have; however, heard them say how much they wish they had never been allowed to stop training. Food for thought…