Practice Makes Permanent

The summer before third grade, I attended a soccer camp run by professional soccer players—some active, some retired. One was a gargantuan South African man named Freeman. Freeman told us during our drills that practice did not make perfect, practice made permanent. The way you practice something is the way you will perform it. The way you write, the way you run, the way you throw, kick, catch—everything you do was once done one way, over and over, and that’s why you do what you do, how you do. That statement stayed with me through the years, as again and again I have reminded myself that how you do things is how you will always do things.

Cut to the present day. As often as possible, I try to give the kiddos tips for making their lives easier—more fun certainly, but more importantly, easier. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s tough being a kid. Responsibilities continue to increase, but you’re still unable to make many decisions for yourself. I remember having so much free time in my childhood—summers snailed by, and time seemed to pass so slowly—and I feel like children these days have lives that are jam-packed with activities. It must be hard to feel as if they have control over anything as they process the influx of instructions and overabundance of opinions on how they should do things from their classmates, teachers, and parents. Knowing this, I try to make my tips in the form of quips, my advice lightly administered (just enough to get them through the day).

So it really makes my day when I hear one of my charges using something I’ve said. One such moment happened the other day when I took Mr. Man and Big Cat to Kung Fu. I was sitting on a bench, lovingly observing from a distance (I would sit closer with some of the moms but I was informed by Big Cat that my presence is “distracting”) and reading a book, when I heard familiar words coming out of Big Cat to his teacher. The instructor was talking to the children about how “Practice makes perfect.” Big Cat interjected that “Practice also makes permanent.” Something he learned from Miss Cheryl! Cue the choir!


2 Comments on “Practice Makes Permanent”

  1. Jen says:

    Halleluja! You are distracting for all members of the opposite sex I think.. ;)

  2. [...] With the small ones, I start small, encouraging the pleases and thank you’s. When a child asks for something, “Miss Cheryl, can I have more fruit?” without pomp or circumstance I simply ask, “What word is missing from that sentence?” to which they immediately add, “Please?”; on the Thank You front, after handing a child something and getting no gratitude, I ask, “What do you say?” the reply another learned, “Thank you!” Putting the option of manners to kiddos as a query, rather than a repeated command makes the process become more of a participant activity, like a guessing game rather than a direction followed. Every time the kiddos use their manners (it’s the same concept as writing spelling words several times) they learn by doing, practice makes permanent! [...]


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