You ever feel like Mr. Rogers? You know, from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Today’s word is “PRACTICE.”
Do you remember trying to play an instrument for the very first time? It was hard to make the right notes come out. You can’t just pick up a recorder and play a song automatically. You have to practice the song.
Everyone needs to practice. Kids. Parents. Teachers. Musicians. Athletes. Everybody needs to practice. Sometimes it’s called “rehearsal.” Sometimes it’s a “scrimmage.” At school, it might be a “quiz.” In baseball, they call it “spring training.” It’s still practice.
People can have different kinds of practice. Like a daily practice. Or a spiritual practice.
A practice isn’t just a habit. A habit can be something unintentional – something you do without really thinking about it. A practice is something you – or a coach, or an instructor, or a guide or mentor – intentionally make time for. You do it not out of habit, but out of rationality. (I feel myself getting a little more advanced than “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” now.) Practice can fulfill you, ground you, provide a foundation you can build on.
We’ve all heard the expression “practice makes perfect.” I remember a recent conversation with an amateur guitarist who made the commitment to practice. He told me he had attended a workshop by a professional guitar player who advised him to practice a song enough times that “muscle memory” formed. Then he would be able to play the song without thinking about how to play the song. The result is better fluency – just like practicing your accent in the high school’s language lab.
What does all this have to do with the disabledandemployed blog? I am just particularly alert today to the need for practice in my life – to realize more clearly that some things I do (or write or say or cook) will not be ”perfect” immediately, if ever. There has to be practice – rough drafts, second tries, etc. It’s inevitable. And this realization will help me (and others) as I struggle to balance employment and disability. Right now, the balance is skewed too far to the side of disability – I will even things out.
So, can you say “PRACTICE?” Sure you can – let’s try it … “Prak-tis.” “Prak-tis.” Good. You can do it.
Now, I think I hear Trolley. Let’s practice going to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe …