When kids quit we want them to quit on a good note (pun intended). Quitting is often linked with frustration, fear, anger and anxiety rather than a healthy choice.
My 8 year old daughter came home from school and told me that she wanted to play the flute. Over the years we had moved a lot and somehow playing a musical instrument had not crossed her path. I encouraged and was thrilled she was interest in playing a musical instrument.
I also reminded her that if things got tough, or she hit some roadblocks in playing flute, she agreed to our 2 WEEK DEAL. She nodded and said, “Oh, don’t worry. I am so excited. I am going to love it.”
The next day she got her flute, brought it home and was playing around with it, enjoying the excitement of something new. Two days later she came home from school looking as if she had just lost the flute! She was agitated, sad, frustrated and angry. ”I don’t want to take flute any more.”
“Hello. Is this Wendy? The same little girl that two days ago wanted to play the flute?”
“It’s not funny, Mom. I am not going to go back.”
“Oh, well I can see you are really upset and frustrated. What happened?”
Tears started rolling down her cheeks as she told me her story. ”I went to class and he gave us Twinkle Twinkle to play. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t know how to read music. He asked me why I was just sitting there, and I told him. He said, ‘Everyone else can read music. That’s not my problem. I can’t take time out to show you.’
I snuggled her into my arms and let her know that I understood how she felt. ”I can see why you want to quit. How embarrassing and frustrating.” She agreed with nods of head as the tears rolled down. ”So, you want to quit because you can’t read music, right? ”
“Well, what if we could teach you how to read music tonight? Music is just learning a new language and we can figure it out.”4
“Really? You can show me?”
I did. We pulled up information on the internet and soon she was telling me the notes. The next day she came home from school happy as a lark and played Twinkle Twinkle.