When Quitting Soccer Is a Moral Dilemma

Bronwyn Lea | August 17, 2016


My 6-year-old son doesn’t like soccer, and it’s raised a surprisingly complex parenting dilemma. Should we sign up for the next session anyway, encouraging him to persevere and build mettle? Or should we let him quit and find his niche elsewhere? Perhaps gymnastics might be his thing. Or chess. I surveyed other parents for advice.

One place I was surprised to find help was in David Brooks’s The Road to Character (Random House, 2015) [interview]. Brooks is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, and his book examines what it takes to be a person who pursues “eulogy virtues” rather than “resumé virtues.” In his search to be a man of character, Brooks observes how the moral pendulum has swung over the past 100 years from a climate focused on overcoming inner weakness through self-mastery to a modern romanticism that celebrates discovering inner goodness through self-expression.

To put it in more practical terms: Do I keep my kid in soccer to help him master his weaknesses, or let him keep looking and find the sport he loves? As it turns out, extracurricular activities can be ethically complex.

Unexpected Encouragement

I expected The Road to Character to be all the things that characterize…


To read the rest of this article, visit https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/when-quitting-soccer-is-a-moral-dilemma.