A Blog from Lindsey Goodyear
My son hates reading. Well, I take that back… My son hates reading anything that school requires him to read. The words are too big, the content is too boring, and he can’t ever remember what he’s just read. We try to stay calm, reassure him, and explain that not only will practicing reading everyday make him a stronger reader, but being a mindful reader (making efforts to focus on what you’re reading while you’re reading) will make homework smoother and more enjoyable. Twenty minutes a day for at home reading is the requirement. In and 8-year old’s eyes, 20 minutes a day is an eternity. Some days we spent double that trying to coax him into it. I knew if he could just start practicing, every day, like he was supposed to, the routine would be set and our battles would get easier. They say it takes 66 days to form a habit and although I couldn’t imagine having this fight 66 more times, I dug my heels in and committed to routine.
To my surprise, it only took a few weeks. He stopped sounding words out and became more confident with calling them out on the first try. His choppy accounts of literature became beautiful sentences gliding out of his self-assured mouth. The coaxing time got less and less and soon he was reading 6 chapters in one sitting. He wasn’t perfect but the improvement was astounding! It confirmed, to me, that practice makes progress. I grew up hearing the phrase “practice makes perfect” but after a discussion with my friend, Roberta, I will now forever say “progress” instead of “perfect.” Because, in all reality, there is only one who we can call “perfect” so striving for perfectionism is, in actuality, setting ourselves up for disappointment. So, when a few days ago I watched him begin the third book in a series, I sat thinking how practice really does make progress, when it dawned on me. I could stand to take a dose of my own advice. Not all of my daily habits were where they were supposed to be either. I could use a little practice myself.
Our latest Messy Church was all about praying. Praying is something I’ve always done, since childhood, but have been slacking on the last couple years. I always used the evening time to talk with God. During the day, I would, and still do, say little prayers here and there, but right before I went to sleep was the time I devoted to big concerns, big “thank you’s” and asking for peace. However, since we’ve had kids, my husband and I take turns each night laying with a son and saying prayers. I love to listen to their little thoughts and what they decide to chat with Him about. The only problem is I’ve been passing off their prayer time as my own. I’ve mentally started checking that prayer box off for the day because I participated with them, right? Wrong. While it’s important for us to encourage and teach our children to pray, it’s also equally important for us to establish, feed, and nurture our own personal relationships with God. He deserves more than what I was giving Him.
Here’s where my own advice comes in. I need practice. I need routine. I need 20 uninterrupted minutes a day with my savior. I’ve realized it doesn’t have to be at night before I go to sleep. I remember my father in law telling me he uses his 4-mile daily walk to chat with the Lord. It got me thinking, although I’m busy running errands, driving kids, cooking, cleaning and whatever else us mom’s do, I also have little pockets of time throughout the day where I can scroll quickly through Facebook, Instagram, or ask Google burning questions. If I traded out just one of those social media check-ins a day, I could legitimately reignite my passion for prayer. I’m not perfect so I know it won’t happen overnight, but it will become habit, again, if I put the effort in. So, that’s it. Practice makes progress. I’m determined to direct that progress straight towards my relationship with God and to make those glorious conversations part of my routine once again.