My nine-year-old son got hit in the head at soccer practice the other day.
As he sat on the ground in tears, one of his teammates rubbed his back to console him. I asked him if he was all right.
"This feels weird," he said with concern in his voice.
I started to worry he might have a worse head injury than I realized. "What feels weird?" I asked. "Is it your head?"
He wrinkled his nose. "No, this," he replied, gesturing with his thumb at the girl rubbing his back. "This feels weird."
New Experiences Usually Feel Weird
I tell this story for two reasons.
First, it cracked me up. It's hard to describe the look of disgust on my son's face as his cootie-covered classmate consoled him so sweetly.
Second, it's a good reminder that any new experience often feels weird in the beginning.
TDD, Classes, and WithEvents, Oh My!
I recently wrote a series of articles on test-driven development (TDD).
The first time I tried TDD I had the same wrinkly-nosed feeling as my son. I pushed through it because I had read enough smart people who recommended the approach. I trusted that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel.
In fact, every time I learned a new concept, I had a similar experience.
I read lots of articles about how great class modules were, but I never quite got the point. One day, I stopped reading and started doing. I forced myself to start writing class modules. Truth be told, those first few probably should have been standard modules. But I kept grinding until one day the concept finally clicked.
Several years later, I finally got around to forcing myself to see what this whole WithEvents thing was all about. Once again, I had to work through that familiar initial weirdness. But, once I did, I discovered the wonderful world of using WithEvents to write reusable event-handling code.
Someday It Won't Feel Weird Anymore
The only way to get past that initial feeling of awkwardness is to work through it.
You can only learn so much by reading about a topic. If you want to understand it, you have to start doing it. It may feel weird. It may feel awkward. But some day you may find that you really enjoy it.
I think–in a few years–my son will agree.