Saturday, 23 August 2014

Importance of Training









 My paternal home was my playground during holidays where I would chase after birds and squirrels while Grandpa, a retired headmaster, tended to his plants. That day I was busy filling his ears with all the bads I could imagine about the teachers I hated at school. Homeworks were leaching out my play hours and palms were sore due to the ‘cane thrashings’. I stopped as I saw two men assisting Grandpa to cut off branches from my favorite Guava tree. “They cannot cut my tree! That is rude”, my eyes welled up with tears which did not go unnoticed. I needed explanation and that was certain. Grandpa replied that it was necessary, which obviously did not satisfy me. This is when my father stepped in and I knew that a scientific explanation was on the way. He began that when the unwanted branches are chopped off the tree can concentrate on the main branches that give us fruits. And that by chopping off wandering branches the threat of the branches touching the electrical lines are checked. “Huh! But doesn’t the tree know that it’ll get an electric shock!” .I thought of how stupid the tree was.“No it doesn’t know, we have to take care of it, just like we elders look after you”, Grandpa put on his serious tone.“Did you always look after the tree Grandpa?”“Indeed I did, I even trained it to suit our needs”, Grandpa smiled.“You are mocking me”, my face fell.“Oh no child, I did indeed. The ‘Y’ shaped branches you always climb upon, I trained it so. I cut off other branches that came up while the tree was small. I protected those two branches and tied it apart to yield the shape. The lower strong branches were encouraged and either tied up or bent or twisted to finally shape strong branches for you to climb on or tie swings. Promising branches were well maintained and fruits protected for you.” He handed me a ripe guava that had fallen off.“This is exactly what they do to you at school child”, he concluded.“No! They don’t give me ripe guavas at school! They give me homeworks and beatings and scolding”, I protested.“They are chopping off your wandering branches, to keep you away from electrical lines of life that can give you dangerous shocks”.My cheeks puffed up, “But I have no branches”.“They are chopping off your bad habits and laziness. They are shaping you into a better person. They are training you to develop your talents and skills like the strong branches. They are prompting you to work harder to achieve your goals. They are training you to focus, to understand and analyse things better so that you would be a stronger, well-shaped, well behaving young soul.”“Just like you taught the tree to be big, strong, beautiful, useful and selfless””, I quipped.“Yes dear child exactly like that. But I didn’t teach the tree little one, I trained it”, his eyes twinkled.A realization had dawned. From then on I somehow endured my schooldays and terrifying teachers. Every time I got upset remembered the tree that was trained by getting chopped, bended, tied, twisted and finally turned out to be a favorite of all. As I think back, it does connect that the ‘homeworks’ and tasks which I used to call ‘hardworks’ , and the punishments and scoldings are like chopping and bending the tree.


It took me longer to understand the difference Grandpa meant about ‘teaching’ and ‘training’. You cannot lecture or instruct a tree about bending itself and not growing in the wrong direction. He was right, the tree was made to grow the hard way for the desired outcome. Training was hence teaching by making us do things, to learn through experience (experiential learning). It involves active participation and when the active participation is not received, punishments get its try. Training shapes an individual. The training that we receive at our institutions builds up our character, our confidence, our knowledge, enhances our skills and talents, filters our qualities and sifts our morale. These trainings often don’t affect us in a day, but it gradually chisels and moulds us. It never hinders our growing, but adds to both our exterior and interior selves the beauty and the utility the generation desires, may it be personal or official.Being a trainer and being a trainee differs greatly. A trainer needs to identify the ups and downs of each trainee and train accordingly. In an army camp the trainer has to identify first who is good at shooting and who is a good acrobat. The one good at shooting should be trained at being a good acrobat too and the trainer should ensure that the acrobat be trained well at shooting targets too .Only then can a competent army be ready for real life combats. The same applies in every field. Like cutting off the unwanted branches and protecting and strengthening required branches of the tree, negatives and positives of the trainees are to be rightly identified by the trainer and be pruned or encouraged accordingly. The job is not a piece of cake.A trainee should participate actively and put in all the effort to keep in pace with the trainer. It is necessary here that the trainee expresses completely rather than holding off so that the trainer can analyze and help the person.Training prepares us mentally and physically through active involvement for upcoming battles, both personal and official.