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Do I Stay or Do I Go?

by Meredith Warshaw

"You have to know when to hold them and know when to fold them..." Kenny Rogers

It seems to me that our culture has become obsessed by the ethos that it's important to "learn to stick things out."  However, I think it is equally important to learn when to quit. Some situations can be fixed or endured, but some are unsalvageable. Wisdom lies in knowing when to stay and when to fold.

When we take our children out of a bad school situation, after having first tried to fix it, we teach them important lessons. We teach them that you don't just quit, that it is important to try to make things work. We teach them that when things cannot be fixed, we look at our options and decide on the best course of action. We teach them that we love them and consider their well-being important enough that we will upset the status quo in order to protect them and do what is best for them, and that we trust our knowledge and understanding of them and their needs.

Many of the people who founded our country were those who left when things got tough. The Puritans left England because the situation there had become intolerable and they wanted a place where they could live as they saw best. The American Revolution occurred because staying part of England became intolerable. The westward expansion was fueled by people who could not make a good life in the East and wanted something better for themselves and their families. And my ancestors came to this country because they were being persecuted in Eastern Europe and had given up on the possibility of things improving (and were proven right by what happened in concentration camps to those who stayed).

It is important that we teach our children both lessons - that when things get tough, we try to fix the situation, and that when the situation is unsalvageable, we look for other alternatives and make the best choice we can. In that way, we teach them to help make the world a better place, but also to find their place in the world.

Copyright 2003, Meredith Warshaw.

Meredith Warshaw, M.S.S., M.A., is a Special Needs Educational Advisor for families of gifted/special needs children.  She is also creator of the Uniquely Gifted website, co-listowner of the GT-Special email list for families with gifted/special needs children, and listowner of the GT-Spec-Home email list for families homeschooling gifted/special needs children.

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