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Quitting When Things Go Wrong

Last night was a horrible night for my daughter.

For the past few years she has been involved in the yearly talent show at school.  Each year she has been able to wow the audience with her skills in various area.  Last night, she was doing a gymnastics routine and she forgot her next step during the routine.  Instead of improvising, she shut down and quit right there and then.

Up to that point, the routine was excellent and she was far enough into the choreography that I thought that perhaps she just went too fast with it finished before the song was over.  The only think that made me kind of suspicious was the fact that she exited the stage a bit too quickly.

Once she got back to her seat, she started crying.  The funny thing was that this year the talent show was a bit lame, and even with my daughter’s unknown mistakes, her performance was one of the best if not the best in the show.  Directly after she left the stage, I hear people behind talk to each other about how incredible it was.

In contrast, there were a few jump rope routines where the jump roping girls got tangled up more than they were successful at actually jump roping, and even a boy who did a lame attempt at lip syncing a song…  lip syncing?  What kind of talent is that?  Of course none of these kids were affected at all, and they were giggling and running around without a care in the world.  My daughter, whose performance was top  notch even with the small error, was crying like her dog died.

The climate of the entire evening happened when the principal of her school came over and told her how amazing the routine was.  After that point, she really started crying, this obviously mad me made because of her reaction.

This is a skill, or behavior that I’m going to have to work on with her.  Being the best in the show and then afterward crying because you didn’t do an absolutely perfect presentation, even though it was the best, is wrong and needs addressed.  We should all learn to realize that even the best of us make mistakes.  It those that learn how to handle, improvise, and make little of their mistakes that excel in life.  Realize what you did do right during such a routine and make the best of it.

Life is too short to cry over little mistakes, especially when you are the best in show.  If the performance was beautiful, then realize that even with little mistakes, it can still be beautiful!

leaning tower of pisa


Sad evening all around,



13 Responses to Quitting When Things Go Wrong

  1. I agree, it sounds like a tough night for you and your daughter. I’m sure she’ll grow tremendously as a result. It’s never pretty falling on our faces, even the that’s just our perception, but necessary to learn.

    My son is overly critical of himself, and prone to quiting too soon. I triedthe ‘play the whistle’ approach with him. In sports, never stop competing until the referee blows the whistle. Let them decide, and never stop to look back.

    • Good approach. Luckily a lot of people were still amazed by what she did do and compliments were streaming at school. She’s gifted, but even if your gifted, if you don’t practice things may go wrong. Hopefully she has learned that practice really does make perfect.

  2. Do a Google search on the topic of resiliency and kids. There is some good advice out there on how to build that skill. Your daughter will enjoy life much more if she masters it early. Good luck!

    • I hope she does. She’s use to being the best, and argumentatively even with her forgetting her entire routine, she was still the best in show out there. I hear people saying how awesome the presentation was in rows behind where I was sitting.

  3. If anyone who claims that he or she has not made mistake then, obviously, they never tried anything. This is beautiful article teaching a profound lesson.

  4. Understand that resiliency is not easy for everyone. I made a mistake in a school talent show act in 1970, and I still cringe when I think of it.

  5. I had one of these moments. I was in a talent show playing electric guitar…And I only had been playing for 6 months. I made a couple mistakes and was emotional to say the least…Then afterwards, everyone told me how good I was because they saw how good I got for only playing for 6 months.

  6. I am pretty sure you have a decade or more of parenting as compared to me, but my first instinct would be to remind her that most people didn’t even have the guts to try!

    Although, I was raised in a house with 3 boys so it may have been a bit tougher LOL