Practice Makes Progress

It’s Mother’s Day in the US (Happy Mother’s Day to the moms out there!), and I came across this incredible story. 

I have to say, it particularly resonated with me because I have a two-year-old.  I also have to say, that Dolly Shivani Cherukuri has my son beat.

 The original Mockingjay!

The original Mockingjay!

Three years ago, Dolly became the youngest Indian to score more than 200 points at an archery event. She shot 36 arrows at a target 5 meters away, and then again at a target 7 meters away. Three years later, she created a new record by firing 103 arrows at a distance of 10 meters in only 11 minutes. She continues to break records each year! Her family claims that “archery is in their blood”, and that she started training after her older brother – international archer and coach, Cherukuri Lenin – passed away.  But the truth is that, archery is in their life.  Dolly practices every day for a few hours.  She also uses light carbon arrows when she is training so that they don’t weigh her down.

Two things I wanted to highlight from this story: First, and I could say this every week, practice matters.  Dedicating a set amount of time to the practice of a skill is the only way to improve it, to hone it, and master it.  Whether it’s reading, learning an instrument, or doing long division – practice is the only thing that is guaranteed to bring progress.  Some people are lucky as well, and others have better opportunities.  But for our scholars, the more hours they can put in, practicing their literacy and numeracy skills, the better students they will become, and the more chances they will have for success.  We want our scholars to be the change makers in Zambia, but to do that, we all need to put the time into their studies, hour by hour, week by week, year by year. It starts today!

Second, age ain’t nothing but a number. Dolly has been able to excel at a task at such an incredibly young age. Most kids are still trying to develop their fine motor skills at this age; Kian is working on holding a pencil correctly!  But Dolly’s dedication to her craft and her family’s steadfast support is remarkable. Providing that support to our students is what motivates each of us, every day, to improve, to change, to innovate, and to endure. 

-Reshma