“Positive Practice” is a great adverb that means, I have to apply myself consistently with the intent to improve; I have to put in the work daily with patience, because it takes time for my skill set to grow.
In the summer of 2008, the concept of Practice U originated from writing a poem and affirmation in the 20th year of my 26 years of teaching at "RADIANT" John Ritter Elementary school inside the up and coming community of Watts, the undiscovered treasure of the greater Los Angeles community. The poem/affirmation was simply titled, "The More I Practice, Practice, Practice." Written with the goal to inspire my students with "uplifting brain food" it changed the culture and confidence of our class. One year later a music track converted the affirmation into a theme song that excited the teaching staff and students from Pre-K to the 5th grade. Encouraged by the message and the happy beat, we worked even harder continuously on our teaching strategies and detailed critical thinking skills, teaching our students the importance of knowing the "when, why and how to use a taught skill." Our students would in return practice the strategies and critical thinking skills from class work to homework. The end result was our test scores improved and our school did a fantastic job consistently. However, the collective data from our 5th grade student's test scores were to our surprise in the process of making history. Year after year, for 5 years in a row in English Language Arts, Math and Science, their test scores steadily increased exponentially in each subject from 2008-2013. It was from that experience that I grew and witnessed the power of positive practice first-hand. I recognized how "we as a people can do better" with our attitude and academics and so much more. Thus the birth of Practice U was born.
Practice U believes that "positive practice" builds 3 areas in our daily lives. The first is practice builds confidence, self-esteem and success in education, sports, the arts, health, fitness and nutrition. Secondly it builds the awareness of self-preservation in the areas of what we feed our body, brain and how we talk to one another. Finally, practice strengthens the social norms that are taught and retaught in our community from each and every parent in their household all the way to the President of the United States of America. Our message of "moving towards self- improvement" is a message for all.
Practice U believes confidence is built from continuous repetition, encouragement along with physical and mental rest. In the field of education, sports, the arts, health, nutrition and fitness, we gradually learn the more I put in the work to study, practice or rehearse, the more I perfect who I am or minimize my fear, anxiety and nervousness. Such feelings are normal prior to standing before a crowd presenting our first speech, going on stage to sing, act, dance, play an instrument, a sport or speak at a job interview or speak up for what is right and much more. However the confidence grows because muscle memory is maturing and the preparation is consistent as a result of daily practice. When a kid says, “Test me or Let me show you”, enjoy the results and give him or her some praise because it's SHOWTIME!! No it's FUN-TIME, and the beginning of something great to build upon.
Practice U believes that practicing self-preservation in the areas of what we feed our body, brain and how we talk to one another is a life saver. What we feed ourselves is important. Healthy food choices such as cabbage, broccoli, carrots, collard greens, mustard greens, green beans, spinach, various fruits, wheat grains and nuts, baked or grilled meats eaten daily and drinking lots of water throughout the day, are the types of food that prevents potential cancer developing cells, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sugar diabetes. This is how one preserves their body from having a stroke, heart attack, feeling sluggish and tired. Healthy food is medicine for the body and cheaper than paying for pills at the pharmacy. Consuming food filled with grease, salt (sodium) sugar, yeast, artificial flavors, artificial colors like the yellows, reds and other food dyes all the time from party to party and late at night, will increase fatty cells and destroy our body.
What we feed our brain is just as important. Smoking and drinking toxins destroys the brain cells. We call this decision self-destruction. You can learn more about the functionality of the brain between the ages 12 to 25 by viewing this link. “Why the Teenage Brain Has an Evolutionary Advantage” , Further equip yourselves with these 2 links as well. "Alcohol Affects on the Brain and Body" and the website "Flavor Hooks Kids" . Conclusively, too many bad habits such as these have invaded and infected our community of families all because the brain was not functioning at a hundred percent. Conclusively, practicing self-preservation is definitely a life saver.
How we talk to one another and about one another makes a big difference. Choosing patience that leads to wisdom, class and dignity not greed, foolishness and profanity is the difference maker. Many will agree profanity and insulting people is not necessary. It is a learned behavior that's demonstrated usually as result of hurt feelings, disappointed feelings, frustration, angry thoughts, aggressive emotions, pride, arrogance and ignorance that turns into stubbornness. For others, it's a crazy habit that little kids to young adults copy and interpret as acceptable. Such behavior is not who we are nor designed to be towards one another. We as a people can do better. It is a choice that affects so many young minds.
Finally, Practice U believes practicing our social norms is a must do, from each and every parent in their household all the way to the President of the United States of America. With each individual having a high MVP character we help to create a future that will continue through our children who will eventually become adults. Our MVP stands for Morals, Values and Principles the umbrella that covers our codes of conduct in our society.
Morals are a standard of behavior that we define as what is right versus wrong, acceptable versus unacceptable, or fair versus unfair. For example, "It is morally wrong to backtalk or insult your parent, teacher, coach or the referee and vice versa. It is morally wrong for adults to insult other adults, and children.” Values are a standard of behavior that emphasizes importance. For example, "He values a woman who wears clothes that covers her body. She values a man who wears his pants and a belt on his waistline to cover his buttocks. We value family and fun times. I value my life, respect, privacy, peace and being debt free. I also value a clean bathroom, clean kitchen and clean bedroom." Principles are the equivalent of rules or a basic belief that dictates one's behavior. For example, "I don't try to hurt people, because I don't want to get hurt myself. I don't lie to people because I don't like being lied too." When we're taught these social norms or codes of conduct, it is like having a force field that keeps us civilized and working harmoniously.
Practice U calls this in the School of Life a practi-co-logist, one whose specialty is a positive presentation of his or herself in the public's eye and in his or her private life. Becoming a practicologist is work that involves thinking and moving from old negative bad habits to newly improved good habits. Good habits and bad habits start with influencers such as the family household, the neighborhood, local schools or what's on TV, at the movies, YouTube, and what we hear on the radio or podcast stations. When middle school youth, high school teenagers, young adult employees, athletes and/or entertainers see good habits, they in return copy those good habits. When they see the opposite filled with frustration, anger, cursing, insults, excuses, blaming, apathy and arrogance they duplicate that toxic behavior and take it to another level. This gives reasons for why positive practice is a must at all times. “Positive practice" is an adverb that means, I have to apply myself consistently with the intent to improve; I have to put in the work daily with patience, because it takes time for my skill set to grow. This is what a practicologist is constantly working on. Becoming a better version of oneself starts first with me wanting to do better and doing something about it each day.
So in short, when you're wearing the Practice U brand, you’re adding to your wardrobe an essential apparel on your life's journey that reminds you to focus on your “inner self." We want you to Practice U, "The Very Best of You" so that you'll be able to Master A Higher Degree of Self, one day at a time. Take time to apologize to someone you may have offended from the heart not from the head. Make a commitment to do better and rebuild the trust. Take time to inspire someone or a group of people you interact with daily. It will help you to grow. Take time to listen to our happy beat video "The More I Practice, Practice, Practice." that inspired a group of elementary school kids to succeed in English Language Arts, Math and Science and let us know what you think in the comment section. Until then, my friend...continue to move forward and upward with your quality of thinking without blame or excuses and upgrade your standard of behavior because kids, teenagers and young adults are watching and we as a people can do better.
Mr. Troy E. Smith, Educator, Founder and CEO