SA Brothers and Sisters,
I personally cannot see Saum as a refresher or training course. Mainly because we are supposed to STRIVE 24/7 to practice discipline and display Islamic behavior and manners. If we have to wait 'till that certain time of the year to focus on such things then it's no wonder that the traditional muslim world learn nothing and see no growth or improvement in their condition as a whole. Besides, I think looking at saum as a "once a year" training or refresher course contradicts 3:135.
Part of the problem here is that there is still some cultural and/or religious residue that may prevent some from taking an "objective" step back and look at this issue for what it REALLY IS and NOT what we WANT IT TO BE. Some here may ask for "PROOF" that saum is not what we have been told it is all these years without stopping to think we were never given "PROOF" that IT IS what we have been "TOLD" that it is in the first place but we were not allowed to question it or ask for proof lest we invoke the ire of the community. Being told something without being allowed to refute or question what it is we are told by no means constitute "PROOF".
We must remember that according to 17:36 the whole goal of Islam is to learn the true and real from the false and unreal. I do believe in the statement of Timothy O'Leary when he said "think for yourself, and question authority." I am practicing my right....indeed my very OBLIGATION to do just that.