Friday, May 07, 2004

"Training Camp"
by Salvador Gabor

It's early in the month of May. The "season" is about to start. What "season" it is you might ask? It's the "kid's season". Now that school is almost done, kids won't be as supervised as in the winter. Parents are at work and kids are left alone. We all need some "training camp" before the "season" starts.

There is a scripture in the Bible that says "Train up a child in the way that they should go, and when they get old they will not depart from it". It's funny that the word "train" is used and not the word "coach". It would be a totally different sentence if it were "Coach up a child in the when they should go, and when they get old they will not depart from it". Many parents think that they are "training" their kids and they're only "coaching" their kids.

As I walk outside throughout my daily life I see many kids falling astray. Children having children, children at young ages already addicted to substances, and children who have no direction in life. Most parents throw their kids to the wolves with no real experience. Parents let kids get away with murder as long as the child doesn't disturb their lives. Kids can curse, smoke, and have sex in the houses of their parents freely and with no remorse. Parents sometimes participate IN the activities WITH the kids. I'm almost 25 years old and I would STILL be scared to even let my mother smell smoke on me. It's just a common respect that you have for authority and your parents in particular that is missing today.

Well what about the two words "coach" and "train"? Let's talk about "coaching". "Coaching" is giving instructions WHILE the "game" is being played. This "game" of life that we play doesn't start until we are on our own as adults or as kids when we are out in public WITHOUT our parent. The "pre-season" and the "training" camp is when we are young AND in the presence of our parents. "Coaching" is when we get an "F" on our report card and we come home with the grades and mom screams at us. "Coaching" is when we get caught stealing and dad has to pick us up from the precinct at 2:00 A.M. and he's heated! "Coaching" is when your 12-year old son says he's gotten a girl pregnant and now both sets of parents are irate. The "coaching" is much harder when you haven't "trained" your "players". The "players" are the kids. As a parent, YOU are the "coach". A child's school performance is "game time". A child that makes a decision to shoplift is doing so when it's "game time". Kids makes choices to have sex when it's "game time". Whenever children make decisions on their own, it's "game time" and that's not the place that parents want to begin "coaching". There is a process beforehand that has to take place.

"Training" comes before "coaching". "Coaching" is yelling at the players and signaling what plays or what decisions to make from the sideline during the "game". "Training" is the actual physical combat that prepares the player for the "game time". Whether it be lifting weights, running, practicing or physical therapy, "training" is the overall preparation tool for the "game" of life. I look at kids today and they don't know how to act in public. They yell out profanity on public transportation. Some don't have proper etiqutte. There are even those who don't practice good hygiene habits. You can't just yell at your kid about stinking..........."Boy get some deodorant under yo' arms, you stankin!". You have to "train" them. They can't just wake up in the summer and go! "Train" them to get up earlier to have time to lotion themselves, put on deodorant, brush their hair, brush their teeth and possibly add cologne/perfume depending on where they are headed. This is just one of many examples of "training". "Training" is also running through the "plays" that may be used in a "game". As "coaches", parents have to go through the "playbook". If you have a daughter, in order to prevent her from dating some hoodlum, inquire as to what she wants in a man. Many parents don't do that. This dialogue will give you a chance to express what you want to see from her companion. This is the same for your sons. Many of us as kids made the wrong choices because our parents made vague comments. "I want you to go to school and be good". That leaves alot of space for curiousity and trouble. Parents have to get into the heads of their kids and be one step ahead of the mistakes they may make. You can't prevent EVERYTHING but, some issues can be prevented with a simple conversation that involves going over simple steps to proper decision-making. "Training" may mean taking your child with you at an early age so that they can see YOU and how YOU act in "game time" situations. Seeing you go to the bank and taking care of financial issues or going with you out to eat at a fancy restaurant may lead to a child understanding what it is to conduct themselves in a proper fashion. The "coaching" that our parents do is often too late. Why yell after the fact? "Training" comes in handy!

Their isn't much "coaching" to do when you have a good team on the floor. A team that has "trained" well will win the big "games". If you don't practice, "game time" situations will be when the practice takes place. In this life that we live, we don't have much time to practice when the pressure is thick. Many of our "coaches" are quick to yell at the "players" DURING the "game". Remember "Practice makes perfect" and "The game is often won BEFORE the game even starts".