Practice Makes Perfect

Dear Dr. Linda,

A while back you wrote a column explaining why some kids get poor grades and you mentioned that they don’t practice enough. Even though I’m now a grandfather, I remember high school and college and in order to do well, I had to practice. Kids today don’t seem to realize how important practicing (studying, reviewing, homework) is. Just look at athletes. They practice. Look at music students. They practice. Thank you for mentioning this in your column.

Steve N.

Sign Up for E-News

Dear Steve,

You’re right. If you want to do well, practice is critical. The old saying “Practice makes perfect” has been around for a long time. In fact, this proverb has been traced back to the 1550s-1560s, when its form was ‘use makes perfect.’ The Latin version is uses promptos facit. It was first attested in the United States in the “Diary and Autobiography of John Adams” (Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings, Gregory Y. Titelman).

Here we are hundreds of years later and this proverb still holds true. People in the field of sports need to practice continuously. Musicians and actors need to practice continuously. These particular professions, and virtually all others, depend on practicing. The people who went into these careers understood and accepted the fact that to be in that profession they would spend hours each day practicing the skills they were developing.

The problem, when it comes to telling children and teens that they need to practice, is that they did not choose being a student as a profession. I think we often fail to demonstrate and communicate how learning the skills may be important to them. Believe it or not, there are students who truly enjoy learning, are goal-oriented and want those good grades because they understand the connection to their goals. Making good grades and succeeding in school makes them feel good because they see their own progress. They are students in the true sense of the word. They practice academic skills just as they practice dribbling or batting, singing songs in chorus, playing instruments in the band, or learning their lines for a spring play. They derive pleasure from seeing the results of their labor.

Not understanding the connection, the majority of students don’t enjoy learning, and when a particular subject is difficult for them, the last thing they want to do is spend even more time “practicing” it. And these are the students who need the practice even more. Eventually, when they go to college or technical school and decide on a major, they take courses they love and see the connection between what they learn and landing a job in that field. Then, they will practice. They will want to practice.

So, if you have a child who refuses to study, which means hours of practicing, remember that they did not choose to be a student. To make matters worse, they are under pressure to do well in this “career” they not only didn’t choose but dislike.

Instead of wasting your breath on the old proverb, “Practice makes perfect,” talk to your child about what he or she wants to become as an adult. Investigate with him or her what he or she has to do in order to achieve this goal. Discuss the fact that in order to achieve it, he may need to get certain grades now and to get those grades, he’ll have to practice. And if he believes you, he may not want to practice, but he’ll understand why it’s important.

Dr. Linda

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Somers

He Said, She Said, and the Truth

We spend so much time teaching our children not to bully one another and not to gossip, but all too often adults don’t practice what they preach, especially given the often toxic and viral nature of social media.

Given the series of events last week regarding a disputed story involving the Somers girls and Yorktown boys lacrosse players, it seems that Somers school administrators were ...

Heeeere’s Bruce!

It wasn’t too long ago that Gus, my Florida wellness dog, crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Our hearts were broken. This gentle and kind boy left a huge void and is missed by all, especially Doak, the black Lab who was Gus’s best buddy since he was eight weeks old.

Matt and Helen knew that they would lovingly bring another golden retriever into the family, but not right now—it was ...

Lofty Views on a River Cruise

I’ve never gone on a cruise before because I’ve had recurring nightmares about all the things that could go wrong. In one nightmare I board the ship, and notice that the other passengers are wearing legionnaire’s hats, there are legions of them and they all have runny noses and a persistent cough. In another, the captain announces that we’ll be experiencing some rough ...

Pyewacket

I am a cat woman. The cleverness, independence and fastidiousness of cats are a reflection of how I see myself... only they do it better.

Aside from the first year of our marriage, when we had Fruitcake, a really nutty rabbit, my husband and I always shared our home with dogs and cats. 

Dogs are great. They give you unconditional love no matter how you treat them and never question ...

Looking at the Orton-Gillingham Approach to Reading

Dear Dr. Linda,

In one of your recent columns a parent asked if his son should attend the school’s summer reading program. The father didn’t want him to go because the father had had a bad experience with a summer reading program when he was a kid. Here’s my question. My daughter’s school is providing a summer reading program and her teacher recommends that she attend ...

Mom + Pop Culture Talk Shop

Author’s Note: Mom + Pop Culture are a couple of real characters. They could be you and me. Or not. Every so often, I eavesdrop on their conversations. Let’s listen in on what they’re saying right now about the common misperception of what empty storefronts signify.

POP CULTURE: Mom, did you see that new empty storefront in the strip mall?

MOM CULTURE: No, Pop. Which ...

Music to Nobody‘s Ears

I winced as we sat in the audience of an experimental music concert played by a string quartet. Calling it music was being generous. It was more like the sound of a subway car screeching on the tracks, mixed with nails on a chalkboard, and choruses of crying babies on an airplane.

“I don't get it,” I whispered to my husband as the quartet tweaked their instruments so violently ...

Thanks for Keeping Somers Clean

June 14, 2017

It is a dirty job, but someone has to do it! Yes, we are talking about all the litter on the sides of the roads in Somers. Litter clean-up is a never-ending job, but thanks to the dedicated residents and businesses of Somers, the task gets easier and easier each year.

The Somers Litter Task Force would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to all Somers residents and businesses ...

Somers Lions Celebrate the Annual Gift of Giving

June 21, 2017

On a beautiful spring evening overlooking the bucolic countryside of Somers at the Anglebrook Golf Club, the Somers Lions Club celebrated a night for its generous charitable donations. It was the culmination of a year of hard work and volunteerism, which has brought about the opportunity to help where help is needed.

Club President Chris Hanley graciously hosted and reminded the guest-filled ...