In the second week of the Fellowship, while we were at the academy, I grabbed some rare time alone and went for a long walk through Golden Gate Park in downtown San Francisco (a friend of mine back home told me I HAD to go there and required photographic evidence that I had actually been). I was walking back through the park to meet the other fellows and drive home when I came across a whole group of people who were rollerblading. They were playing music and pretty much line-dancing on skates – brilliant. Anyway, I ended up standing and watching for a while because these guys were REALLY into their skating. So much so I realised, that the guy who was leading, and teaching the others this new routine actually had his arm in a cast. It was not hard to imagine that he broke it while committing to a specific ‘skate-dance’ move (it sounds like something I would do).
I have thought about that moment a few times since, mainly in the context of how, even though this guy had hurt himself pretty badly, he continued to what he loved to do. He hadn’t even waited until he was completely healed to continue – he carried on regardless. This week, my skating friend came back to mind when I was thinking about what it means to ‘train’:
train (treɪn)— vb
To guide or teach (to do something), as by subjecting to various exercises or experiences.
To make proficient by instruction and practice.
We learn to do something or to get better at something by being trained, and only then can we train others. We initially learn to eat, walk, talk etc, and then continue to learn new skills all the way through life. It is rare in life to just be able to ‘do’ something – somewhere along the way we have to learn by modelling our behaviour on those around us, or being shown how to do specific things.
This week our new fellow Hank arrived and joined the team. It was odd to recognise by his arrival just how much we have been ‘trained’ over the last 9 weeks, sometimes without even knowing it. Hank had many of the same questions this week that we did when we first arrived, only the difference this time was that we actually knew some of the answers! Like the definition suggests, we have been subjected to a whole variety of exercises and experiences and they have shaped our thinking, behaviour, and skill set while being here.
Once we go through the process of training, we are better positioned to train others. Back in week 3 we were trained in the Freedom Store. It’s a blur – I remember a lot of information about $’s, tax, inventories, product names, and my least favourite thing – numbers. This week in the office I spent time updating information for our volunteers that work in the store – 6 weeks since I myself was trained, I can train others, and bring my own experience to help make things easier for them.
In a wider context, as part of ZTC I am attending a ‘Train the Trainer’ course later this month – how apt! It’s the same concept; taking individuals who operate in a training capacity and training them to train others about Human Trafficking. It’s the idea of being wiling, being available, and allowing yourself to be trained – taking that new knowledge and those new skills, and using them to benefit others.
So my thoughts this week are that training is necessary, valuable, and should result in the training of others. We should strive to be like the skating guy in the park. Even if you break your arm to learn a skate-dance, you should carry on regardless if that is your passion! No doubt he will not make the same mistake again, and the others he is training are benefiting from his broadened experiences and instruction.
We can only become ‘proficient by practice or instruction’, so if we don’t push through the ‘broken arm’, then we will never achieve the proficiency we experienced it for. Keep going!