Tuesday, January 21, 2014

You May Become a Mini-Me

I am usually willing to apprentice at the side of a master, but I long-ago outgrew the ability to act as acolyte. Only experience should be believed. I have long shied away from formal education in favor of following in the footsteps of those with experience. It is important to me in choosing a guru to know where the teacher started and where he or she wanted to go before accepting that this pastor was on a path that I wanted to pursue.

Anyone can learn to parrot pretty words, and we are often enthralled by the sound of the voices saying them. Influential oratory is also a learned skill. My soft-spoken husband has a favorite saying, "Act proves potency." It should not be taboo to ask anyone who seeks to guide your actions to share his or her own life story and references.

So many mentors give advice based on what they always wished they had done, rather than on what lessons they have learned by their own living. Psychologists/pastors/counselors/therapists, for instance, have a policy of not giving a patient any personal information before attempting to address the problems of the patient. The danger in becoming vulnerable to anyone with whom you are not in an equally intimate relationship is that you never know where the person intends to lead you.

I find this to be more than a little bit dangerous. Even if the therapist/psychologist/counselor/pastor has good intentions, you may not be at all suited for the areas that he or she endeavors to take you. Be careful who you follow; you may become a mini-me, an experiment in what the leader wishes he or she could be.

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