Most of the comments I hear from people regarding my column are in conjunction with my “Word of the Week.” I’m always gratified to hear folks say they try to use the words the following week in an effort to increase their vocabulary.
Using big words can be fun; today my 7th graders learned that expectorate is a synonym for spit while reading Tom Sawyer. It’s neat to see eyes widen and heads nod as they think about how to use new words to impress their friends and confuse their enemies.
However, some words don’t need to be multi-syllabic to have an impact. The word quit packs quite a punch when used. Sure, you could use similar words like desert, resign, or abdicate, but that simple four-letter word is powerful.
No, this isn’t some odd segue about me giving up this space in the paper. (Sorry to disappoint those who were hoping for that!) But it seems that lately I’ve been telling a lot of students to avoid quitting when things get tough, and it got me thinking if I follow my own advice. Looking back, sometimes it feels like I’ve gone that route plenty in recent years.
I was a board member of the Quad Cities Baseball Association for many years. I was all set one year to resume my duties as vice-president when I reached a tough point with many things converging at once. My stress levels peaked and I had to find a way to fight that. I gave up my position with the QCBA, though quit seems pretty strong. Let’s go with resigned. I aided a bit through that following season with areas I had always taken care of to help the transition, but I found that I felt better overall.
And now it looks like I’ll rejoin the fray as Anton’s group of baseball players will enter that organization’s purview next summer. Much like what I wrote about in last week’s column about stepping back from coaching basketball for a few years, this feels right to have had some time away from something I love.
Last spring I ended my time as head of our building’s PBIS team. Once again, stress levels had built up and something had to go. Still, quit seemed pretty strong to use. Perhaps I abdicated my position. Much like with the QCBA, I’ve still made myself available to offer any thoughts on different PBIS activities. It seems like the group is doing fine, and they’ll hopefully reach new heights. Sometimes change is good for everyone involved, and it looks like that has been the case here.
Goodness knows I felt like quitting as a negotiator after our tentative contract failed last spring. After much hard work, to hear many disparaging comments was tough to take. However, I believe in finishing a job, and so we’re continuing to work in the best interests of our membership. Here’s a difference that comes with age. I see teenagers and even folks in their 20s hop from job to job when the going gets tough. I see students give up on activities like band after less than a year. Give things a chance. If you start something, see it through to the end. It was very tempting to just walk away from negotiations and say, “If you think you can do a better job, go ahead.” But that would meet the very definition of quitting.
We all know our jobs are difficult at times. We all have days and weeks we’d like nothing better than to go along with Johnny Paycheck and say, “Take this job and shove it!” And some people do. Walking out on a bad job might be satisfying at the moment, but what about long term? Do you have another gig lined up?
There have been weeks it’s tough to get going on my column. Life is busy, and to find the time to just sit down and write is difficult. It would be easy those weeks to just call the paper and say I don’t have anything for them that week. But that seems like quitting as well. Sure, it’s tough those weeks. Sure, I might be struggling to find a good topic. Sure, I might rather be watching something that’s been sitting on my DVR for a month. Throughout this writing, I’ve figured out that I don’t want to be a quitter.
Maybe an abdicator. Maybe a resigner. But not a quitter, right? Then there’s the matter of stopping as music minister at church. One could say I deserted that position. The differences I had with one of our priests had been building, and, as I’ve mentioned here before, finally broke. I had fought against the negativity for some time, but finally had to give in. Is there a time where it’s okay to quit? I won’t say I feel great about abandoning that post, but I’m at peace with it.
We should avoid quitting at the drop of a hat, but perhaps sometimes there comes a point where it’s okay to step away. In most situations, I’d like to use a less powerful synonym, but there might be the need to say, “I quit,” on a rare occasion.
Word of the Week: This week’s word is brabble, which means to argue over petty manners, as in, “The brabbling at the meeting made him want to walk out immediately.” Impress your friends and confuse your enemies!