calling a time-out

First published July 30, 2012

In many games, players can call “time-out”, usually at the coach’s direction. The game stops. The clock stops. And the players can rest for a moment. A coach can describe the next play. In some sports, players can call “time-out” several times during the game.

We could imagine, I suppose, a coach who said “I’m not going call any time-outs. It’s a sign of weakness.” I can also imagine that coach being booed by fans. The time-out is part of the game. It helps everyone survive.

In some households and classroom, teachers and parents can call “time-out.” It’s a form of discipline. It gives the child an opportunity to stop and think. Ideally, the child thinks about the behaviour that happened immediately before the time-out and what might have been wrong about that behaviour. Often, there is a warning: “If you don’t stop that, you’re going to get a time-out.

In the case of sport, time-out is a positive act. In the case of parenting, time-out can have positive results, but at the moment it is a negative experience.

I’m telling you this because I had opportunity to explain it to a friend the other day. This person is pushing too hard, trapped by some illness, but driven by the fear that taking a “time-out” is something bad to do. it’s not. Calling a time-out can be part of the game. Taking time off to get well. Taking a break from travelling. Taking a sabbath once a week.

These aren’t punishment. And they aren’t quitting. No one accuses a coach who calls a strategic time-out “quitter.”

And no one will call you “quitter” either.

Go ahead. Call time-out. (I am next week).