Training and Trains
Two years ago I switched careers from being a teacher to being a trainer. What is the difference between a trainer and a teacher anyway?
There isn’t much. The biggest difference seems to be in semantics, that teaching is more related to academic or personal skills, and that training is related to careers and jobs. In other words, teaching will benefit the individual, but training will provide skills that benefit an organization of some kind.
But then, when our son was born, I discovered a plethora of advice about sleep which is referred to as sleep training. As he’s a baby, I doubt very much this will contribute to his career one day. So I return to the idea of training, and I think about the root word… train.
A train isn’t decisive. A train only knows where it’s going because someone laid down a track. I didn’t invent the idea of sleeping for instance, and I didn’t invent the idea of learning how to fall asleep, so in training my son to sleep, I’m simply showing him where the tracks (that someone else laid down) are and letting the tracks guide him along the way. And actually, in the case of sleep training, I can’t even really show him where the tracks are – I can leave him alone and create an environment where he can train himself to fall asleep.
And anyway, I’m not sure how I would instruct anyone on how to fall asleep, let alone someone who can’t understand what I’m saying and doesn’t have the emotional capacity to reason.
Interestingly though, in the time that my son has been alive, I’ve gotten on track with a number of things. My health has improved due to eating better quality foods. My productivity has skyrocketed, which has allowed me to nearly finish the book I’ve been writing for the past year or so. And I work out three times a week.
I’ve done all this in spite of being a new dad, because I’ve ruthlessly removed things from my life that shouldn’t be there, like excessive social media use and hanging out with friends that I don’t particularly care to hang out with. I didn’t ever need to do this before, but my child… well, I guess you could say that he’s trained me to compartmentalize my time better.
And for good reason too. Not only do I feel like I haven’t lost sight of my goals in life, but I also feel that when I’m with him, when I’m taking care of him or putting him to bed or just playing with him… I’m fully present. I’m not thinking about all the work I have to do, because I’ve already done the work or I’ve accepted that it won’t get done today.
It means that I can be as present as I need to be to ensure that I do my share of parenting and house maintenance. And by no means am I saying that I have mastered this. I have weeks where I don’t get work done, weeks where I shirk responsibility, as we all do.
But… that’s how training works.
You’re on the track until you fall off the track. And then it takes someone or something, whether it’s a mentor or just that internal voice, to tell you to get back on the track and keep moving.