My Daughter, the Quitter

Never give up!

Try hard until the end!

If you want more sweet potato fries, you better finish that organic corndog!  

I was taught, and also impress upon my kids, that it’s important to finish. Quitters never win, and winners get all the full-ride scholarships. Or something like that. But the other night, during our sacred lights-out-she’ll-tell-me-anything-time my daughter and I share at bedtime, she made me reconsider.

Apparently, my daughter and a handful of school friends had recently formed a small, um, "band" called The Specials. Maybe you’ve heard of them? (Kidding! I promise you haven’t.) They practiced on sporadic bus rides home and at second recess. My daughter was Lead Guitarist, which she informed me with a level of sincerity normally reserved for Supreme Court nominations.

Two important notes: 1) My daughter doesn’t play the guitar and 2) the guitar was a rubber band attached to a pencil.

But if there’s one thing parenting teaches you, it’s how to play along.

The reason she was telling me about The Band was because she was quitting The Band. Not because she didn’t get to be the part she wanted. Or because they weren’t playing the right songs. Or that all of their instruments were made from half-used school supplies, which you’d think would have messed with the vibe a little.

Nope, she was quitting because they had failed to include another girl who my daughter was friends with. She felt bad for her other friend, who also really wanted to be part of the band.

 If my daughter is ever in a band, I hope this is her album cover.

If my daughter is ever in a band, I hope this is her album cover.

She was quitting based on kindness. Because in her heart, she empathized with how her friend felt, being left out. She understood how bad it would feel if the tables were turned.

My kids don’t roll their eyes or blatantly ignore me (yet), but after a long, heartfelt soliloquy on the importance of being kind above all else, it’s not uncommon for them to say something profound like, “Does this shadow look like a camel to you?” or “I wanna add Space Batman to my birthday list!”

So while it sounds small, her act of kindness and compassion and bravery even, (4th grade girls can be little biotches, let’s face it) made me so proud. It showed me that my husband and I are getting through, even if it doesn’t always seem like it.

We may not be cultivating a rock star, (or maybe we are?) but we’re definitely helping form little people who will spread joy in so many other ways. Sure, music is important. But I think the world could use a lot more kindness and a few less lead guitarists.

The Specials, as it turned out, quickly disbanded altogether. I think the remaining members lost the microphone (a pencil) and the drums (an eraser you hit with a pencil.)

My daughter is still friends with all her former band mates, and is currently exploring a solo career in fashion design. Which also involves lots of pencils.