Practice Makes Perfect, Right?

//projecteve.com

As I sit down to write my the first post for my VERY OWN BLOG (how cool is that?), I am feeling a little nervous and, frankly, pretty inadequate. But then I got this quote from Values.com in my email inbox:

//projecteve.com

“For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s no great. A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.” –Ira Glass

I sure hope it doesn’t take years for me to become “good” at this, but the message makes sense. Practice makes perfect. Hard work pays off. Don’t give up. It’s the same thing I would tell my kids at home or the students at work every day. Except that when it’s me in the hot seat it is a whole lot harder to practice what I preach.

Why? Well, the obvious reason is because it is always hard to put ourselves out there. Will people understand me? Will people respect me? Will people think I’m funny? Will people LIKE me? Because being liked is ALWAYS REALLY what it comes down to isn’t it? At least for me it is. I am a fairly confident person, but I have struggled with the desire to be accepted by people—for people to LIKE me. On most days I win the war; however, I’m 40 years old and I have battled for years to be at the point I am today.

This brings me to our youth. That IS what I am supposed to be writing about. (I know, I know, friends, it’s not always all about me.)

Kids, young people…they SUCK at just so many things. That’s the point, right? We are all born not knowing how to do things and we are taught from birth. The terrible twos start out with temper tantrums and eventually (hopefully) temper tantrums are phased out by appropriate conflict resolution. Effective communication skills and good decision making are sometimes interrupted by hormones, social pressures, or economic barriers that youth struggle with and are, well, I said it didn’t I, they

**SUCK**

BUT, with that rather blatantly stated, that’s what growing up is all about. You are supposed to suck at things so you can learn. I will say that again:

**LEARN**

Young people need time to grow up so they can learn. And they know it. They just might not want to admit they know it.

But this is the important thing–so read closely–what young people don’t always realize, is that they WILL UNDOUBTELY get better at EVERYTHING THEY DO. EVERYTHING. Yet, because they are young, and their brains have not matured enough to understand their own potential, they don’t always believe in their abilities or potential to improve. As a result, they don’t always have the ambition we expect or hope they would have.

That, my friends, is where we come in. As parents, friends, teachers, mentors, neighbors. I don’t care who you are. If you come in contact with young people it is your job to help them realize their potential. Help them realize they are worth their own ambition and motivation. Help them understand that if they continue to work hard, they will get better. Their practice will pay off. You might be the only adult in that kid’s life who has shown any interest.

Your interest might be the interest that makes the difference.

He may act like he doesn’t care that you care. Don’t believe it. He may walk away from you. Don’t give up. He may look at you funny. He is listening. He cares. He hears. And he needs you. Eventually, he will believe you and understand his own potential.

I began this blog post with a quote. And yes friends, it was mostly about me. Me and my inadequacy about writing a blog. I end this blog post writing the same quote, but it’s not about me at all.

“For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s no great. A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.” –Ira Glass

Denise Smith is an experienced & passionate professional advocating for youth & our future leaders as part of Non-profit organization. Novice blogger; relationship builder & aspiring change agent.