Magens Bay --San Thomas

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Throw our hands up …

Hm .. How many times we heard ourselves saying, “Whatever!”  Especially we, parents, there are times when we just didn’t want to deal with the problems anymore. We have been saying the same thing over and over again and our children just don’t get it. They simply won’t listen to us. Or sometimes we bump into problems that we can’t solve. Seems like giving up is the best solution. Is giving up a good choice or not?

When my kids were younger, I never let them giving up on anything. The lessons that I was trying to convey to them was giving up because they bumped into hardship, or simply didn’t feel like doing them were not acceptable. There were times that they were at the edge of slipping and I, too, almost gave up but I persisted. And little did I know, I have inserted the ‘never give up” mentality in them.

Now that they are older I could see that in order to achieve their goals, they go above and beyond and still persist. Tell you the truth I am very proud of them! Indeed! I think I am quite successful in this matter.

Recently Pepper, like I have mentioned in previous blogs, having a hard time spending time practicing her piano and she was literally frustrated with the whole situations. I watched and I know that she has tried her best. There are just too many things going on and I believe she has tried her very best. So, I suggested her inevitable to give the piano up. As you might have guessed, she refused.

The thought I want us to sink in today is giving up a good choice? Of course, we should NOT take this route for easy out. I believe we need to exercise all possible ways before reaching this very choice. If at the end things don’t go the way we want and we are suffering from them. Why not?

Honestly, I have never given up on anything in my life just yet, even though I found myself saying, “Okay, fine! I gave up!” But at the end, I always managed to revisit the problems. I can’t seem to let go of things unless I know I have exercised all possible avenues. Is this bad or good? I dunno.

I am putting this thought out there and maybe we could think about it together and perhaps we could find light at the end of the tunnel.--As someone once said, "Giving up doesn't always mean you are weak; sometimes it means that you are strong enough to let go" 

Note: Just so you know, Pepper is trying a different way to resolve her hardship in piano. She went and talked to the teacher again and this time she spilled out what she can and cannot do. It was hard for her to admit that she didn’t have time in front of her teacher but I believe she just learned valuable lessons in life.Perhaps, she hasn't reached the end road yet in her mind. So, kudos for her not giving up!

Until next stop,
Journey of Life


  1. Interesting. As you know, our little boy is only six, so I expect things to get more complex than they are now, as the challenges he faces seem pretty basic (to me, if not to him).

    I don't encourage him to quit or to give up - there is an old sports saying that a winner never quits, and a quitter never wins, and the discipline of soldiering on through a tough battle is a critical one in learning life's skills to be sure.

    But another somewhat equally important lesson, I think, is that life is often made up of choices - in terms of economics, we have finite resources to match against infinite demands. It's an insoluble situation, and thus maturity involves what in medicine is called "triage." Simply put, picking one's battles. Sometimes, recognising futility and not wasting time in hopeless crusades is the most important skill one can have.

    Challenges, in my personal experiences, can be divided into four groups, two of which are easy to recognise and sort.

    1) Battles that CAN be won, and that are WORTH fighting. This is an easy one, as we can identify those situations, either based on the necessity of the outcome or the need not to compromise our principles, and thus we simply cannot afford to lose, and that with enough perseverance can be surmounted.

    2) Battles that can NOT be won, and are of questionable or low value even if one could win them. Also easy; think of a petty argument you have at work, over how loud someone's cubicle music should be, or perhaps someone who insists on cooking smelly left-overs in the microwave. It's likely to be an ugly, personal and unwinnable battle, and even if you could win, is it really WORTH fighting?

    3) Battles that we think we really must win, but ultimately are likely to be hopeless causes. This is a tough one, because often we mis-judge one or the other - the battle seems hopeless, when in fact it's just very, very difficult, or the converse, the war seems necessary, but with a bit more circumspection, it's less crucial than perhaps our emotion indicates.

    4) The battle that we likely can win, but is not worth fighting. This is perhaps the toughest case - the so-called "pyrrhic victory," where we win at great cost, either personally to ourselves or in the pain or damage we cause to the other party.

    With personal choices (e.g., the piano), I think it's important to really look at the situation and ask on first principles, WHY am I doing this, and HOW do I feel I am coming up short? When I was a child, all through high school, I played the cello; I took lessons, and I practiced as much as I wanted (or didn't). I did so because I enjoyed the music. I actually miss playing, and somewhat regret that I had to set it aside as I became an adult. On the other hand, I knew I was not headed to being a professional concert-level cellist, and thus I was satisfied (or not) by how well I felt I could play the music I wanted to.

    In short, because I played for me - not for my teachers, or my parents, or as a means to enhance my chances to gain acceptance to a top-level college - I never felt too frustrated with the amount of practice time I could carve out.

    I think here, "Pepper" is sort of seeing things in that way; she perhaps sees the piano playing as something to enhance her life, not frustrate it, and is thus not quitting, but rather, seeing the time she CAN dedicate to the piano as a gift.

    That strikes me as a healthy and commendable sort of personal growth.

  2. I really think this analogy of yours is very thorough and insightful! I will share it with Pepper tonight. Thank you!