Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I learned QWERTY because my dad made me learn QWERTY. When I was a kid, I hated typing because it was hard. I typed with my index finders.

O n e l e t t e r a t a t i m e.

When I wrote my first e-mail (which was to my dad), mom commented that "it took the boys one million years to write their e-mails because they wouldn't type the way they're supposed to."

My dad taught me to type through a basketball game on the computer. If you typed the words quickly, you scored points. If you didn't type fast enough, you lost the game. I learned to type quickly.

I learned QWERTY.
I learned the home keys: asdfjkl;

When someone puts a keyboard in front of me now, my fingers automatically go to asdfjkl;. I know the home keys. Through discipline, I learned how to type. My dad told me that typing would be worth it, and I learned how to type.

Now I can consistently type 100 words per minute. Every now and then a big word like "cytoplasmic" will slow down my average, but I can normally type about 100 words per minute.

Typing is hard if you don't know how to do it. I didn't know how to do it until my dad taught me. He forced me to learn. I learned through a computer game. Now I type well.

I don't play the piano well. Why not?

My mom has played the piano since she was a kid. Didn't she teach me how to play the piano? She tried.

The piano didn't catch my attention like the basketball typing game on the computer. My mom thought it was important for me to learn how to play the piano, just like my dad thought it was important for me to learn how to type.

However, when it came to piano, I just didn't "get it." Maybe it was the boring music that I practiced. Whatever it was, there wasn't enough about the piano to keep my attention.

There wasn't anything about playing the piano that motivated me to practice through the hard parts. Chords and scales couldn't keep my attention. I didn't know why I had to learn them and I couldn't understand my mother's patient explanations. I started playing piano when I was five or six, but I never got good at it.

I liked seeing the computer basketball players score points, even if I had to type a boring word. No computer basketball players scored points when I played a boring scale on the piano.

I started playing the guitar at age fifteen. I still play the guitar. I practice regularly. I listen to and play enough guitar music that I know that it's worth working through the hard parts. No computer basketball players score points when I play "Wake Me Up When September Ends" by Green Day, but I enjoy playing just the same.

I practice the repetitive things that aren't fun so I can play the songs that are fun. I can see the end goal in sight.

In the New Testament, Paul told Christians to look to Heaven as the end goal. He told them to look at Jesus as their example, because Jesus "for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

Christians are supposed to think of Heaven when life gets really tough. Heaven, not computer basketball players scoring points, is the incentive to keep going.

Sometimes you don't see the end goal, but you're entertained enough to stick at something and get good at it. Sometimes you're not entertained, but you're mature enough to have discipline. You discipline yourself for the purpose of something. You believe the authority figures who are telling you that "it will be worth it in the end."

When you've gotten good at something--when you've disciplined yourself--it becomes a habit. It's natural.

Someone puts a keyboard in front of you, and your fingers automatically go to asdfjkl;.

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