While it may seem a bit presumptuous at first glance to think you can multiply what you know in the life of another —that you can re-produce what you’ve learned by passing it on— it’s really not presumptuous at all. It’s a responsibility, really.
What would have happened had your parents said “I can’t teach an eight-year old anything! Me? No… Not me.”
You’d be stuck at eight forever – or learn from somebody else.
No, there are certain things that happen at age eight that are best learned from Dad, Mom, Uncle Mike, Aunt Lori… and if they enjoy teaching you, even better!
It’s true at school, at work, and at church too. When people enjoy teaching others what they know, a meaningful spirit of community develops. I’m partial to church (have you noticed?), particularly the artists and talented sorts who call church “home”. This key unlocks mentoring no matter the building, but I believe it’s especially true in the Christian life, much of which includes church.
Can you celebrate another’s success?
If you can – if you will – you have in your hands one of THE most important keys to successful mentoring.
When your learner gets-it. When you see the light go on in that head of theirs. When their eyes brighten and they do it themselves and then look up at you for that smile that affirms, and you’re already there with enthusiasm and a good word, you’ve got it. If it’s not there yet, work at it. You’ll be amazed how quickly it catches fire and becomes a delight.
Take one more look at Luke 2:52. Sometimes we read it as a post-script to the Christmas story, but Jesus was twelve in this verse. Luke writes “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with god and men.” Do you suppose Joseph and Mary had anything to do with that? That prayer and worship and service were important in the home he grew up? That there were probably other adults who influenced and re-inforced their teaching? Do you think Joseph ever said “Here, Son, let me show you how to turn that table over without straining your back,” never thinking for a minute He’d one day need that skill in the Jerusalem temple?
Something to think about. Teach what you know to someone younger or less experienced and celebrate his or her success. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll love it. Totally love it.