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Quitting a Team Does Not Make You a Quitter for Life

Driving in the car yesterday with my kids, a song came on the radio that made me bristle. I do not offend easily. Sometimes, I like the challenge of hearing rude, sexist, or stereotyped content with my kids. It gives me a chance to process the information with my kids, wave my feminist flag, and teach a lesson.

But the song that caught my ear yesterday wasn’t your run of the mill “booty don’t speak no language” situation. The song is called “I Hear Voices” by Chris Young. (Disclaimer: I’m a major country music fan. I love the cheesiness of country lyrics.) In this song, the singer recalls all the good advice from his elders throughout his life.

He includes a well-intended nugget from his dad that made me clench my teeth. Young’s song highlights the exhausted cliché that being a man means you never quit. Not anything.

Let me rant: As the mom of a 12-year-old boy, I am offended at the suggestion that quitting a team means you are a quitter for the rest of your life.

I’m actually a huge fan of quitting a team.

I’m also a big fan of sports and being on a team. But it’s unfair to say that you can never quit a sport you hate to make room for something you might love. Worse yet, is to think that if you ever quit, you’ll always be a quitter. Come on, does quitting a team really mean you’ll quit everything you do?

There are plenty of benefits of quitting.

Kids in middle school, in particular, should be encouraged to try new things. Their job is to try to develop their identity. This process helps them become successful adults independent of their parents. I wish more people would let their kids quit the stuff that doesn’t feel like a good fit.

Closing that door might open an opportunity to try a new activity that might be the perfect fit.

Michelle Icard is the author of Middle School Makeover: Improving the Way You and Your Child Experience the Middle School Years. Learn more about her work with middle schoolers and their parents at

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