Start At The Start

A mistake I’ve made plenty is one perhaps you’ve made in any number of areas when trying to pass on good information, even teaching someone something be it guitar or whatever. It’s this: your encouragement and patience or lack of those two can be THE pivotal difference whether they learn or not.

I’m not saying they have zero responsibility but one thing is near-certain- if you don’t inspire them they’ll drop you and perhaps “it”… or perhaps go search for another teacher who has the character to help them get what they need to learn.

Of course they must be willing, there has to be some amount of commitment but that’s a two-way street!

On occasion I have mentioned that I learned to play guitar from others. In fact the kid was a couple years younger than me. Pat had two or three cheap guitars and amps and had already progressed from the two-string “chords” he taught me about, but in that I’d been messing around trying to make sense out of all six strings, I not only watched him but listened and when he offered to show me things, I paid attention and learned.

The low E string “open” (not touched) and then the next largest string up from that (the A string) when (being right-handed) my left index finger (“pointer”) was  pressed down on that second string in-between the 2nd and 3rd frets (the actual note is a B), well that low E and B played on the A string when plucked together produced the most simple, basic, rudimentary “chord”. This was what I built on.

How many in my generation had music teachers in school who screamed, yelled and tossed chairs or certainly insults at students? Those adult-children teachers were at least half of the reason many quit music.

The only reason I took music classes the last three years in high school was because I guess I had patience for the instructor who seemed to like me. He likely cut me slack due to some level of natural ability so I didn’t have to do all the work, get straight A’s and such. For me it was a slacker choice of electives and nothing else offered much interested me so…

I learned very little in those three years and honestly got far more from playing in bands, watching, listening, studying a lot of musicians in those groups who clearly knew more than I did about guitar, bass, drums and such, so I learned way more from them in group rehearsals and playing shows together than I ever did in school. And it all related to what I wanted to do and ended up doing most of my life- be a musician.

These exact principles pertain to discipleship in the churches, small groups, where ever and however you may want to slice the bread -better still, help the dough rise! The character, love, patience and even ability to inspire another is super core to any measure of success in passing on quality instruction they can benefit from.

I wish I’d have known all this in my earliest years of pastoring… but in the past 30 or more it became obvious these were needs in my life without which it would be difficult if not futile to try to share what I had to benefit others.

Education is very, very helpful and however one attains it, even essential- but I must accent that experience which can only come with mindful effort over time truly brings knowledge home. That’s part of how knowledge becomes wisdom and how we learn to apply good and solid information in the practical sense.

A few decades or more ago I realized I didn’t need to have all the answers on ANY issue and that indeed, due to seeking and building relationships with a good many wise yet humble friends who were gifted and knowledgeable beyond me in any number of areas I would (and do!) send people to them when I thought they’d also be likely to be a better help to individuals or groups than I would.

In other words, recognize your weaknesses, flaws, grow in humility and the issue isn’t if YOU are the DUDE or DUDETTE… the point is to serve others best and sometimes that means directing people to someone other than yourself out of love and respect for both them and those of character and greater wisdom, different or more applicable gifting than you have.

Food for thought for the journey of “passing it on”!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

One thought on “Start At The Start

  1. I appreciate the insights and for all of your faithful service to God and to people you don’t know directly.
    I can see more than ever that training / teaching anyone requires patience and vision. It is a servant perspective to love someone and instill something in them and stay there through the sour notes and help navigate the student towards a better place.

    For me as a dad of young kids, the youngest are 3 yrs and almost 6 yrs, the best way I connect directly with them is to get on their level, play with their toys and sit on the floor next to them.

    It is one of the hardest things for me to do – to stop doing what I’m doing (always busy, never ending list of things to do), and just stop, listen, participate. Zoom, zoom, make the trucks and airplanes come to life. Just a few minutes down on their level will energize them. I can almost guarantee a spontaneous hug from my almost 6 year old, like saying THANKS DAD, I really appreciate the time you take to show me that I’m important.

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