Posted on 21-Dec-2014
Ever since the founding of The Boys' Brigade, drill has been taught to Brigadier after Brigadier. First the basics, then the advanced stuff. Year after year, batch after batch. After a while, it gets boring doing the same thing over and over.
Why not just do something else? Sure, drill is taught to all members for many reasons. Sure, drill is something that we have been doing for long enough that we have no problems finding teachers or drill commanders.
Drill is done to teach discipline. Through drill we are supposed to be able to build up a form of self control; to be able to move when we want to and move only when we are told to like we are told to.
Drill is done to improve physical bearing. When we are forced to stand straight for hours at a time, it slowly becomes a habit. This in turn gives others a good first impression of us. When we are required to stand beneath the burning sun and freezing rain, the next time it becomes a little more bearable.
Drill is done to develop “Esprit de corps”. Roughly translated to “spirit of the corps”, it is an attitude where each member in a team views themselves as part the team instead of an individual. When drilling as a squad, the mistake of a single person is a mistake made by the whole squad. As a result, we tend to work better and more cohesively in a team.
Drill allows development of leadership. To command a drill squad is not easy. The commander has to first know the drill commands, then have confidence that he actually does. He has to keep the goal always in mind, yet be able to deal with any struggles those he is teaching. When performing such a hard task so often, other tasks of similar skill sets seem to get easier.
Drill is not the only way. If I wanted to learn discipline, I could join a band. Practicing an instrument regularly requires a great amount of discipline. If I want to develop a sense of pride in a unit, why not a join a football team? After all, football is a sport where the actions of a single member affects the whole team.
If I wanted to develop a good physical bearing, I just need to study wushu, karate or any martial art. After all, each of these arts require certain stances to be assumed for long period of time.
So why drill?
There will always be other methods to achieve a goal, other roads to reach a destination. When drill was implemented, it was not done because it was the best method - there is no “best” method.
There will always be methods that are more fun or interesting to some than drill. Yet, The Boys' Brigade stands for drill not because it is the greatest method. The Boys' Brigade stands to teach drill to everyone who joins simply because it defines what Boys' Brigade is.
Upon joining The Boy’s Brigade, one would discover a fundamental part of BB is drill. Drill, as stated in the Encarta Dictionary: English (North America), is “a sequence of tasks, exercises, or words repeated over and over until they can be performed faultlessly, as used in teaching military skills, languages, or basic arithmetic”, and is also a way to further the BB Object. Let’s take a look at a different type of drill. Fire drills are designed to get the people to move quickly, efficiently and in an orderly fashion in case of an emergency. The people, upon going through the drill, would know exactly what to do. Drill in the BB is also designed for a similar task that is to train the members to know exactly what to do and to execute them in an efficient and orderly manner.
Ask any Brigadier what Drill has taught them, and nine out of ten would answer, “discipline”. Yes, drill does strongly emphasise on discipline, but take a quick look at the Drill Manual and you will find that drill has a whole lot more to offer. In fact, to pass the Drill Basic theory, you have to know the very purpose of drill.
Right away, the first purpose offers a way of furthering the BB Object, because drill is to promote habits of Obedience and Discipline, Self-Respect, Self-Control, Concentration, and Physical Bearing. When a member carries out a command, while maintaining his or her posture, the member shows obedience and discipline. When a member takes personal grooming seriously (neat hair, cut fingernails etc.), the member shows self-respect. When a member chooses mind over matter and, as my Staff Sergeant once said, not move even if a bee lands on him or her, the member demonstrates self-control over mind, body and spirit. When a member is able to execute good drill and does not delay nor is early in execution, the member displays a great deal of concentration. Lastly, when a member maintains an upright, smart posture, and is able to perform commands satisfactorily without sloppiness, the member possesses good physical bearing.
The next purpose of drill is to develop leadership. A commander is able to exercise his or her leadership in drill. However, if a commander abuses the authority, true leadership will never be developed. To command without consideration of the members and to punish for the slightest mistake does not portray a leader, but in a way, portrays a dictator. A true leader would guide the members, and help bring the squad to execute good drill.
Finally, drill is to encourage company Esprit-de-Corps. According to the Drill Manual, this is defined as “Pride in a unit, which makes a member ashamed to bring discredit to it, and makes him/her ready to sacrifice for it.” The idea is that in a squad, no member alone can prove his or her brilliance in drill, but a single member can mar the image of the whole squad. According to my Staff Sergeant (again), this can also be redefined as “One die, all die.”
Through drill, one’s character can be seen very clearly. It is true that everyone can do drill, but whether or not the drill is deemed satisfactory depends on whether each member is willing to sacrifice time and energy to improve, and to advance for Christ’s Kingdom.
Last Updated: 21st December 2014