Practice makes …

outstretched_hand

There is an old adage that Practice makes perfect.  I don’t agree.  Anyone who has participated in athletics will understand my reasons.  If you practice swinging a bat incorrectly, how does that perfect your swing?  I can bang on the keys of piano for hours on end, but I won’t be playing any of Beethoven’s Sonatas any time soon.

No. I believe practice makes permanent. If you want to improve at something, you have to have a goal in mind for what you want to accomplish, and then relentlessly pursue it.  That is how you become a master at what you do.  Thunder has recently experienced this.  Last year he was fantastic hitter with an average at .425.  He has worked relentlessly and this year, in a tougher league, he hit over .700.  But this post isn’t really about baseball (although isn’t everything about baseball??).  It is about how you live your life.

I am going to use generosity as an example of what I am talking about, because I think it is an area that is often overlooked.  Most parents want their children to grow up to be generous.  How do they learn that?  It is not a difficult formula:  they see you practicing and they practice as well.  Help them to love it and help them to exercise with you and when the Lord calls on them to be generous they will be ready to step up to the plate and do what needs done.

Here is the beautiful part about practicing this kind of “exercise.  Not only does generosity become a reflex, they get really good at.  Not just being free with the resources our Lord Jesus has placed in their care, but in knowing how to really help people. Here is an example of what I mean.  How many times have you heard of a friend or family member that has had a tough time and you leave them with, “let me know if you need anything.”  That is a equivalent of a 2 strike slap foul at anything close to the plate just to avoid striking out.  If that is all you do, you will never get past that point.  Practicing generosity allows you balance all of the things that Jesus teaches on the subject.  It enables you to  anticipate those needs of someone having a hard time, it enables you balance anonymous giving, it enables you to redirect gratitude to the real provider (hint it is not you) and it enables you to know when, not to give.

Remember, you are going to make mistakes along the way.  But, you will not learn from them if you aren’t actually practicing.  A hitter doesn’t learn to hit well by watching.  They learn to hit well by swinging the bat and making the necessary adjustments when they have done it wrong.

I was blessed to grow up in a family where my parents modeled this kind of sacrifice and as one of the younger children, was able to see my older siblings take up the torch.  I pray that I am doing as well with my children.

If you want your kids to learn to be generous, remember, practice, practice, practice.  You will all get better and we all know, practice makes permanent.

Now I feel old

PhoneBoothIt is easy to forget how fast our world is changing.  There is nothing like children asking about some ancient piece of technology that has faded into oblivion to make you feel old.

Last night, for family movie night, we were watching “The Perfect Game.”  By the way, this is fantastic movie the whole family will enjoy, especially if you love baseball.  It is about THE 1957 Monterey, Mexico Little League team.  Don’t worry, no spoilers here.

Any way, we are all watching intently, and P.C. asks the question (yes, of course it was him – he just has the knack).  He blurts out, “What are they doing in those ‘Cell Phone Houses’?”  I had to laugh.  A woman was using a telephone booth and he couldn’t figure out why the characters in the movie kept doing that.

Yes, our world has changed, and yes I cam getting old.  I am just dandy with that.

Samoan Strong

SamoanSealThunder has always been big.  He is Samoan big, and all the goodness that goes with it.  That means he has also always been strong.  Consequently he doesn’t have to work at athletics the same way that other kids do.

The temptation with strength of any kind is to coast a little bit where others are really having to work hard.  Thunder, like everyone else is not immune to this temptation.  The key for him and how much he will develop has always been whether he learns to “put his foot on the gas.”

Two weeks ago, Thunder asked if I would help him with his workout so he could improve.  He recognized that coasting was holding him back.  After 15 minutes into our first workout and lots of encouragement, he reached down deep and drew from that well of Samoan Strength that he hadn’t tapped.  His bat speed easily doubled and he was crushing the ball like never before.  His hitting was always impressive.  Now it is awe inspiring. 

Fast forward to Monday.  He and his team were working out at a local indoor batting facility because of bad weather.  After he worked out in the cage for a while, one of the instructors there for another team told him that he has the fastest hands he hand ever seen in a boy his age.  Boom.  He gets it.

We don’t all have a well of Samoan Strength to draw from, but we all have the ability to dig down deep and tap that inner strength that frequently goes unused.  Like all of us, Thunder might forget it is there from time to time.  We just need someone to come alongside and remind us that we are stronger than we think. That is really the heart of Samoan Strength.  Yes, they are physically strong.  But more importantly, they are strong of heart and can reach deep down inside and give you more than both of you expect.  That is Samoan Strong.

Fa’a Samoa!

A Penguin in the Off Season

PenguinP.C. has experienced some pain in his hips off and on over the last year.  We are still investigating that with various doctors so we would appreciate your prayers.

He woke this morning with pain in both hips and asked to stay home from school.  He explained to beautiful that he didn’t want to go because, “all the other children will laugh at me because I walk like a penguin and it is not winter.” 

Apparently, it is okay to walk like a penguin when it is winter, but not in the spring.

You have to love that boy’s view of the world!