Ken Crews Blog
“…let the wise also hear and gain learning, and the discerning acquire skill…” -Proverbs 1:5
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” -John Fitzherbert (Book of Husbandry, 1523)
After years of playing tennis casually with friends and family, reinforcing every possible wrong technique and bad habit along the way, I recently decided to register for an actual tennis class. It occurred to me that learning is more fun with friends, and it can be easier to try new things with a little extra support. So, I registered Owen, as well. He’s a good sport about these things! With proper guidance, and some sore muscles, we are both learning to play better and we’re acquiring skills we didn’t previously possess.
Our class meets once a week, but our instructor encourages us to practice during the week, if possible. It seems that one hour of tennis a week just isn’t enough to really grow into a consistent player. Who knew?! Thankfully, Owen and I have other family members and friends who are willing to play with us, even if they are much better at the game. Their additional support and direction have helped us improve upon the skills we’re learning in class, creating space to positively reinforce all the good things we’ve learned.
While our main goals may have been to improve our tennis game and spend some quality time together, there have been additional benefits. We’ve met new folks of all ages and we’re becoming our own little learning community. It seems that learning one new thing invites us to consider how we do other things and how we learn, generally.
I’m glad to report that you can teach an old dog new tricks, even if there is a little more soreness! Learning a new thing has less to do with age and more to do with a willingness to learn. If you do a little research on Fitzherbert’s now well-known proverb, it appears his original remark was “it is hard to teach an old dog tricks,” and he was speaking literally about dogs, not people!
It can be hard to learn new things, but with God all kinds of difficult things become possible. As we approach another program year at FPCV, I hope you will consider how you and your family will learn new things with our FPCV family!