Practice makes it normal

There is a scene in Survive and Advance in which Jimmy Valvano is discussing the first day of basketball practice, in which he and the team practice cutting down the nets, as if they had just won the NCAA National Championship.

One of Valvano’s former players recollects how the first time they did it, it was weird and awkward; and the same was true the second time they did it; but after that it became natural, because that is what practice does, it makes an unnatural act, whether it be cutting down the nets or running a play, or throwing a ball, natural.  The goal is that it will become so natural, that you will not just do it in practice, but you will do it outside of practice as well.

That comes to mind as I think about things we do in the faith.  Why don’t people make the sign of the cross?  Or pray in public?  Or do devotions?  Or discuss the faith openly with their children and their neighbors?  Because it is not a natural thing for them; and it is not natural because they do not practice it in the home, so how can anyone be expected to do it outside of the home?

That is the key in teaching the faith: the first time you sing a hymn, the first time you pray in a restaurant, the first time someone asks you a question about the faith; it is going to feel awkward, it is going to be weird, it is not going to feel natural.

But the second time, it will feel more natural; and by the third and fourth time, it will be as natural as discussing the weather, or checking the scores. 

When you do something repeatedly, it becomes natural; it becomes so natural that you do it without even thinking.

Survive and Advance never does discuss if they cut down the nets in 1983 the way they did so in practice.  They did not have to; because when you practice it, it is natural, and you move on to the next step.  So to with the faith; when you practice it, you do not even think about it, you just do it.

About revschmidt

An LCMS Pastor in North-Central Kansas
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