The best type of teacher...
"The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but do not tell you what to see."
That was the quote I read yesterday as my husband and I walked to church. It was painted onto the side of a building.
Yesterday, I knew I had to take a picture of it. Today, I thought about it some more and knew what I wanted to share from it because, on deeper reflection, it reminded me of a story.
But first – The quote itself.
How does it sit with you? Is there a part of you which finds it annoying? Do you want to be told what to see? Eliminating the need for anything to be left to chance, risk or creativity?
Or does the thought of this excite you? The idea that the teacher is someone who shows you where to go and maybe even what to do. But the perception you have and the action you take a result of it – that’s all on you. Is that a liberating thought? I hope so.
I went a little deeper with this via a live stream I shared for the leadership series I’m running over in my Facebook Community (You can also check out the live stream HERE.). In 1 Samuel 3, we’re met with the story of Samuel and Eli. The Lord is calling Samuel and he doesn’t realise it until Eli (his mentor, in a sense) perceives what has gone on and tells Him to address God.
That’s all that Eli really needed to do here. Because, in truth, that’s all that good mentors and leaders really should be doing - Giving someone the appropriate action steps and trusting that they’ll follow through on them. Samuel could have decided Eli was crazy and gone against what was advised, continuing to do his own thing. After all, we read in verse 7 that Samuel didn’t actually know God at this point.
Instead, Samuel decides that this wise guide who is more experienced than him is probably sharing something worth paying attention to and so he does it. Here, we learn that even when we don’t know what to expect, it shouldn’t stop us from taking action if we’re led take it.
It just so happens that Samuel does indeed hear the Lord speaking and hears a word which isn’t great news for his mentor, Eli. Nevertheless, at Eli’s request, Samuel tells him everything. Read what happens as a result:
"And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground." (1 Samuel 3:19)
We may indeed be the ‘mentee’ to some because, as we know, a good leader is always learning. However, being a mentee in one place doesn’t negate our responsibilities and leadership elsewhere. We read that Samuel truly GREW when he:
A – Acted in obedience.
B – Took God speaking seriously.
C – Did something challenging (when telling Eli the truth.)
These are lessons we too can learn for our lives today.