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I view David Beckham as one of the greatest gifts to all parents.  Here is why:

1                     I defy anyone not to like him

2                     He has undeniable brilliance

3                     It is clear he has achieved that through practice

You don’t have to be a football follower to appreciate a David Beckham free kick.  As the ball floats over the defending wall and then curls away from the goalkeeper while dipping into the top left corner of the goal, one is left moved and amazed by how something so simple can have such magic beauty. If you have never watched it, I feel that is your loss.

(In case you’re interested:

But every schoolchild in the UK will know the stories of him kicking ball after ball into an empty goal, often an hour or two after the rest of his team mates have gone in to shower.

If you start to dig into the background of any top performer, you will find the same story. The main difference between someone good and someone brilliant is how hard they have practiced.  You will not find a single story in history of true brilliance without practice.

So it is only fair to be honest with your child about it. Their great hero, whoever that might be and in whatever field of endeavour, is really just a hard worker! If they want to emulate them, they need to work hard too. It is easy to align someone’s psychology in that way.

Of course that extends to things that they don’t want to do either. Then there are two parts to the process:

1                     Do they have to do it?

2                     Do they want to do well?

The answer to part one is clearly complex and how to manage that varies hugely. But often the answer is “you just have to do this”! Anything school related fits into that zone.  So, at that point it is easy to shift to part 2 and remind them what the essential key to doing well is: practice.

David Morgan is Managing Director of Oxford Learning Solutions and creator of the Easyread System, an online synthetic phonics course designed to teach dyslexic and highly visual learners how to read. Find out more at