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Overcoming Quitting: A Parent’s Reflection on Fostering Commitment

Explore one parent’s thoughtful reflections on the crucial role of nurturing resilience and life skills in children. This article delves into the significance of commitment to activities like martial arts, swimming, reading, and music, viewed not just as hobbies but as transformative life skills. Discover insights on the impact of perseverance, the importance of setting and adhering to initial goals, and the profound, lasting benefits these life skills can offer to children. Uncover practical strategies and reflective questions aimed at fostering a growth mindset, developing grit, and supporting children in their journey to becoming resilient, empathetic, and well-rounded individuals. #ParentingInsights #BuildingResilience #LifeSkills #ChildDevelopment #Commitment #MartialArts #Leadership #PersonalGrowth #SupportiveParenting #FosteringCommitment

As a parent, I believe my role goes beyond being a mere spectator in my children’s lives—my role is to ensure that my children acquire essential life skills such as martial arts, swimming, reading, and music, which I see as pillars of their development. These activities are more than recreational; they are crucibles for character development, leadership skills, resilience, and self-discovery.

Our Role in Their Journey:

As parents, sometimes we have to do the hard work alongside our children. Yes, it involves enduring complaints and dealing with occasional reluctance, but it’s crucial. Through our steadfast encouragement, we are showing them what they are capable of achieving when they embrace the hard work. We are not just spectators but active participants in their journey of character-building.

The Impact of Completing Hard Tasks:

Joe Desena, the founder of Spartan, shared insights about the neurological imprints created when we accomplish hard tasks, stating that neuroscientists can literally observe the tracks formed in our brains, particularly potent when formed during youth. This revelation makes me wonder: by allowing our children to quit, are we stripping them of opportunities to strengthen their minds and spirits?

Value in Essential Life Skills:

My wife and I deem activities like martial arts, swimming, reading, and music as fundamental life skills due to their multifaceted benefits. Martial arts is a comprehensive package, imbuing practitioners with physical and mental self-defence mechanisms, leadership qualities, discipline, and resilience. Swimming is not just a sport but a survival skill, while reading unlocks the limitless potentials of the mind, and music increase cognitive ability through enhanced neural communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, resulting in positive effects on learning, memory, fine motor skills, and verbal and non-verbal reasoning.

Reflecting on the Consequences of Quitting:

Post understanding the significance of essential life skills, it becomes vital for my wife and I to reflect on the ramifications of letting our children abandon their pursuits mid-way due to transient boredom or difficulty. What are the unseen costs to their future selves when they don’t follow through with an endeavour, when they don’t learn the invaluable lessons embedded in perseverance and completion? The consequences are far-reaching.

Investing in Development Potential:

When selecting activities for our children, what if we, as parents, focused more on their developmental potential? The innate capacity of these activities to foster indispensable skills, shape mindsets, and enrich experiences? It is crucial to make our children see these activities not merely as recreational engagements but as investments in their future selves.

Questions for Reflection:

  • What could be the long-term impact on our children if they quit activities as soon as they lose the initial excitement?

  • Have we, as parents, helped our children discern the value inherent in their activities, not just as transient hobbies but as foundational building blocks for their future?

Speaking from personal experience, I had once wished to abandon my martial arts journey just before earning my black belt. My mother, seeing the unseen, did not allow it. It was her foresight and unwavering belief that gave me the courage to persevere, to earn my black belt, and ultimately, to impact countless lives through martial arts.

Encouraging Commitment and Perseverance:

By guiding our children to choose activities with transformative potential and helping them see the profound, lasting value they can derive, we are planting seeds for their future prosperity. It is our responsibility to ensure that they perceive these activities as more than transient pleasures but as substantial investments in their future selves, imbuing them with a wealth of skills, insights, and experiences.

Establish Initial Goals and Commitments:

When your child embarks on a new activity, sit down with them and set a clear, achievable goal. This isn’t just a target; it's a commitment, a pact that they make with themselves. This goal should be understood and agreed upon as a point of accomplishment they strive to reach before considering discontinuation. This clear agreement, revisited when times get tough, serves as a constant reminder of their commitment and the power it holds.

Utilizing Goals as Guiding Lights:

When the inevitable resistance and desire to quit surface, revisiting this initial commitment becomes a beacon, guiding them back to their path. It is not about forcing continuity for continuity’s sake but about helping them realize the worth of seeing their commitments through. It’s about teaching them the significance of fulfilling promises made to themselves.

Fostering a Sense of Accomplishment:

Helping our children to stick to their commitments, to weather the storms of reluctance and difficulty, enables them to emerge on the other side with an invaluable sense of accomplishment and a fortified character. They learn not just the joy of starting something new but the profound fulfillment in completing it, in overcoming the hurdles and reaping the rewards of their perseverance.

Strategies to Foster Resilient Leaders:

To assist parents in cultivating resilience, leadership, and essential life skills in their children, here are some proven strategies:

  1. Foster a Growth Mindset: Advocate the development of a growth mindset by teaching your children that abilities are malleable and honed through effort. Books like Carol S. Dweck’s “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” can offer insights and guidance on nurturing such a mindset.

  2. Develop Grit: Instil the values of passion and perseverance in your children and encourage them to stick with activities, overcoming challenges and building resilience. Angela Duckworth’s “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” provides a wealth of knowledge on this topic.

  3. Be Supportive: Being a pillar of support when your children face resistance is crucial. Encourage them through their discomfort, emphasizing the value of their commitments and the rewards of persistence.

  4. Establish Clear Goals and Expectations: Assist them in setting realistic goals and understanding the importance of honouring commitments, whether it is persisting in martial arts classes or continuing with guitar lessons when the initial zeal wanes.

  5. Emphasize the Importance of Effort: Focus on the journey and the learning it brings rather than the outcome, teaching them that effort is paramount and often more rewarding than the destination itself.

  6. Encourage Exploration: Allow your children the freedom to explore diverse interests, but once a commitment is made, encourage adherence. This approach fosters resilience, adaptability, and a robust work ethic.


Active participation in our children’s developmental journeys is paramount. As parents we are tasked with laying down foundational tracks in our children’s minds, enabling them to confront life’s diverse challenges with fortitude and adaptability. My aspiration is to see my children emerge as resilient, empathetic, and proficient individuals who appreciate the multifaceted life skills they’ve acquired, and who relish and learn from every part of their journey. The fusion of martial arts, swimming, reading, and music are some of our chosen vessels to instill these enduring life skills, to guide them through the beautiful labyrinth of life.

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