Quitting vs Failing Fast

boredIn tech circles the concept of “failing fast” is common – get a prototype running and if it’s going to fail find out as quickly as possible to move onto the next iteration. What does this have to do with parenting? Well, this is a discussion on quitting.

My eldest has recently picked up a habit of starting something and not seeing it through. He started cub scouts as some of his friends were involved and kept talking about it at school. After the 4th or 5th week he decided he didn’t want to do it anymore and wanted to quit. At this point I recalled being forced into activities as a young lad and I didn’t want to put my son through that so I let it go.

Since then some extra-curricular activities have come up at school and my son has again started and not seen them through, so now it’s starting to become a pattern and I’m not the only one to recognize it. He’s been practicing for a speaking part in an upcoming play and he is actually quite good, however he didn’t get the part and is in the ensemble instead. It seems his “lack of commitment” has been noticed by others.

We talked about this latest let down and I pointed out the importance of committing to something to the end if we say we’ll do it. Other people are depending on us and if we quit part way through we’re letting them down. He considered this and then he said I quit at work all the time. Perplexed as I was I asked him to explain – he’d heard me discussing the concepts around “failing fast” with my wife and drew his own conclusion that it’s the same as quitting and it must be OK!

I pointed out that failing fast still takes commitment and has a predefined goal or test to decide whether to go on or not. This isn’t the same as deciding you no longer want to continue and then drop out, leaving others in the lurch.

A simple misunderstanding from overhearing my wife and I talking one evening. Just goes to show how much they pick up and without a full understanding themselves, they’ll fill in the gaps with whatever they have.

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