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Is it time to give up?

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Giving up.

When do you decide you’ve had enough trying to solve a problem and just give up? And how do you know you’ve made the right choice if you do give up?

I teach my children to never give up. “Mom, I suck at spelling.” I reply to practice to not give up and the more you practice the better you get. “How am I supposed to pass this test if I hate history?” And my answer is to look at it with a different frame of mind. If you’re open-minded and want to learn, the facts stick better, so don’t give up.

So, how do we, as parents, exercise the same motto when it’s our problems?

Sometimes the answer is that it is time to give up and move on. One example would be my oldest son, who, after I’ve raised him with morals and plenty of love has become the epitome of the Prodigal Son. It tore me up when he turned eighteen (still with a year of school to complete) and moved out without so much as an “I love you, Mom, thanks for everything” or even an explanation of why. He left with an arrogant attitude that reeked of kiss my ass and thanks for nothing.

I finally realized I’d done all I could do as a mother and had done the very best at raising him that any good mother could, so I had to let him go, let him learn the hard way. I still struggle with his selfish ways and the self-centered things he does, and, as a result, the pain he causes his family and grandparents. But because we tried to raise him right, he feels we were mean to him. I walked away and I knew it was the right decision. I knew that “I give up” was the right thing to do. He had to learn about life and what’s right and wrong on his own, and in doing so, I pray he see’s “the light” and realizes the truth of things.

But there are personal issues in life that crop up from time to time that don’t seem to have a clear answer. We all have dreams that we chase. One person struggles with the decision of whether or not to go to school to practice law because he’s forty-eight and feels it’s pointless at that age. Does he go ahead and do it or just give up the dream?

Another person wants to be a pop singer and tries out for every contest nationwide, cuts sample records, and does everything within her power to get that lucky break. By the time she turns thirty-five or forty she looks back and faces a big decision: does she give up and work for the local insurance company to provide better for her two kids, or does she continue waiting tables as she chases her dream?

The answers to some problems are often cut and dried, but what about those dilemmas that are attached to our lifelong dreams? How do we know whether to continue pursuing it or if we should set the dream aside and say enough is enough?

On a side note, I’m still working on SDW’s blog site, so take a moment to click the tabs at the top of the page and visit the excerpt pages and more.

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15 responses

  1. There are times when the urge to give up is so fierce you wonder if it’s instict telling you to give up. However, this passes and the zing comes back, and you push on as before. Then the cycle repeats over the course of the fast-passing years, and you wonder, if it’s repeating, whether it’s one of those life “lessons” we’re presented with where we’re being tested on one of two things. 1: Hey, you’re not listening to me! This cycle is repeating. Can’t you see I’m trying to tell you to give up now? 2: Hey, you need to learn these things, that’s why I’m testing you, and when you’ve proved you want it SOOO bad, I’m going to give it to you, hence the repeating cycle.

    The real test is, like you say, knowing which option applies to which situation. With the situation I think you refer to, yours is option 2, the same as me. There is no age limit for this option, you can be young or old, and, so I’ve seen, the majority of those who get that dream are older, have been through this cycle a thousand times, and also, what about if you gave up and that prize was just around the corner? I know myself I’ve asked that question many times, and that’s the question that keeps me going. What if…?

    Good luck in whatever you decide!

    November 4, 2010 at 5:15

    • That what if is what keeps me going, Sarah. Sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps me going.

      November 4, 2010 at 5:15

  2. I think it’s easier to know when to give up on a person or relationship when you realise the only person you can control is yourself. Having pounded against the mysterious glass ceiling for years without good results, I finally got it. Was it hard? Sad? Frustrating? All that and much more. I even gave up on the idea that someday it’ll change and get better. That’s when I started sleeping nights.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:15

    • Thanks for stopping by, Adelle. I don’t think there’s anything that hurts a mother worse than to see one of her children go astray to self-destructive proportions. It’s horrible having to walk away because that maternal instinct keeps screaming at us to keep trying.

      Hi, Margie! I relate to what you’re saying too. I’ve had a coupla jobs like yours that I’ve walked away from too and you’re right about being able to sleep at night. The weight that was lifted was amazing!

      November 4, 2010 at 5:15

  3. I don’t think there is any one answer to that question. I too have a wayward son, and as much as it breaks my heart I had to detach myself and say Enough!
    I think the thing to remember is every decision we make doesn’t only affect us. It affects everyone around as as well. I truly believe, when it is time to throw in the towel you’ll know, that is if you’re open to the message your heart is telling you.
    Very thought provoking post, Faith. ((warm hugs)) friend.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:15

  4. I go through this every day with my husband. For two years I’ve watched him self destruct. I keep hoping he’ll turn his life around, but sadly I haven’t seen it. The day gets closer to where I’m giving up. I have others to think about first. I try not to quit things and give up, but after so many attempts to help someone you just have to step away and let them find their own way.
    It’s sad, but a fact of life. We can only do so much Faith and I know the decision with your son killed you, but I truly believe in the long run he will come back and thank you for all that you have done for him.
    Trinity

    November 4, 2010 at 5:15

    • When it comes to having a husband like that, Trin, I understand. I went through it twice.

      As for my son, yes, it did nearly kill me and still does at times. I really hope what you say about him is right, but I don’t know. He makes three times more money than we do, and he’s never once asked if we’re okay or if we need help with something, but he doesn’t have a problem asking to borrow money KNOWING how tight it is for six of us on one income.

      November 4, 2010 at 5:15

      • Hmm I know that feeling as well. Hands are always out for money Faith I don’t care who or where. I could have nothing in my fridge for my kids to eat, but yet someone is always asking can I have this? It never stops.
        We do what we can to take care of our children always putting our needs on the back burner, but one day it will be our turn and we’ll shine.
        When that day comes we’ll both look at these days and say how the hell did I make it.

        Trinity

        November 4, 2010 at 5:15

      • I keep telling myself the same, my friend! LOL, I keep telling myself the same…!

        November 4, 2010 at 5:15

  5. Good question, Faith. I guess you have to take into account what it might be costing you to persue a dream that you aren’t catching and decide if what you’re paying is worth it. Is the possibility of teh dream coming true worth what you might be giving up to reach it? Blah. Is it the season or what?

    November 4, 2010 at 5:15

  6. You know, I’ve watched my mother struggle with my oldest sister on this very subject. Sis is 50 years old this year. She’s still coming to Mom to bail her out. Even when Mom does, Sis treats her like crap. Mom is finally coming to the “done” point where she’s ready to cut her out of her life completely. No Christmas, no Thanksgiving, nothing. And that’s huge for my mom. But, honestly, because my mother helped Sis for so long, she did her a disfavor. Sis hasn’t learned how to take care of herself. She’s 50. 50!

    It’s hard, Faith. I don’t know how you do it, but you are doing the right thing. He has to grow up, and obviously he wants to learn the hard way.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:15

    • I may be doing it, lol, but I’m with you–I don’t know how!

      November 4, 2010 at 5:15

  7. I never give up on my children. No matter how many times I say “this is it”, I find I’ve lied to myself. Because there is always that hope that next time their going to “get it”.
    There were times I had to give up on friendships when it turned out I was being hurt by the relationship. Friendships should be nurturing to both people.
    I didn’t give up on my dream to be an author, for which I’m thankful, but have given up on other dreams when I finally realized they just weren’t realistic. But getting to that point is hard.
    It is so hard to decide when enough is enough. But when you give yourself a realistic goal, I think it gets easier. Like finally figuring out I had to let my 20 year old find his own way, but knowing I will be there to back him up if need be, it was easier to let him go.
    But, I swear, kids will break your heart more effectively than any lover ever could.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:15

  8. With people, there’s a difference between giving up on someone and giving space to someone. I have three little boys and I kind of dread when they become teens, because I know for better or worse, I shall have to let them go, even if they make mistakes. I would never shut my door to them if they wanted to come back; I will always love them. But I know that isn’t always the same as going down the same path.

    I ran away from home once, and kinda broke my mom’s heart, but we reconciled. 🙂

    As for a dream… well, that’s hard too. I have had to give up some dreams to make room for others. But I think it would be fatal to give up dreaming altogether.

    November 4, 2010 at 5:15

    • Excellent point about it being fatal to give up dreaming. Without hope, what is there?

      November 4, 2010 at 5:15

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