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.