Finally, but far from the last word on this subject, is teacher number 3, the type of teacher that loves to see you soar. These teachers are a rare breed, but they do exist.

This teacher not only wants to see you soar, but they place no limits on your growth and achievement. Your achievement becomes a joy to them, the same way a parent feels joy when their child learns a new skill. It doesn’t matter if you’re achieving past them or just learning how to walk.

Why is this type of teacher okay with your growth when others are not? First, he is comfortable with who he is. He doesn’t need or want to be better than you. Teaching is about your growth, not about competition. His goal is to be the best he can be for himself, and part of that self image and self esteem is helping others do the best that THEY can be, regardless of what happens to him personally.

He knows a secret. This secret is a by-product of his work with others to this degree. Remember, he knows it is a by-product, not a direct result. The by-product is that HE GETS FED. He gets fed first by the feeling that true giving can make someone feel. Second, from this magical place, he gets his cup filled. He not only feels good for others, he gets a wonderful feeling about how his contributions towards your growth. And then, he gets fed: he gets knew knowledge from this place of being a true teacher.

None of us are a completed work. We’re all a work in progress, all on our way someplace other than here. Nothing is static, we are all change. A teacher that is open to new knowledge from his students continues to grow. Contrast with the previous two teacher types that have at their core a need for constancy and superiority. They’re also on their way someplace else… but it isn’t growth oriented.

I have two teachers that I continue to work with that are in the 3rd category. I have one I think is in the middle or second category, and one who recently slipped into the first category.

Yes, they move about. And so do I, seeking knowledge wherever it is appropriate.

Why is the teacher who is in the second category still my teacher? Because I can separate out what we talked about in the last post. I can still find and appreciate knowledge and understand from his teachings, and I can subtract out what I know when I perceive his faults or find parts of him that I don’t want to integrate into who I am.

I think that once you separate out your teacher from his ethics or morals and look at the patterns that are useful to you, you can keep a great friendship. None of us are perfect. The category 3 teachers are rare.

The problem with the level 1 type of teacher. I find that the information and knowledge they have to share does not balance with the pull of the black hole of negative behavior. I think that the effort required to be involved, even as a friend, with the type of person who acts out in those ways far outweighs any type of benefit you might gain from the information. I have made a commitment to pull away from people who act out in those ways right away and spend time in contemplative prayer for some kind of revelation to come to them about how their actions affect other people.

My recent teacher who went that way in my experience still has a chance, but it won’t be easy. I was told by many people and had direct inspiration as I tried to reveal this to him. He quickly went in the opposite direction. It was difficult to watch someone I loved go this route.

At this point, I chose to pull myself away for 2 reasons. First, I cannot afford the negative pull in my life. Second, I want to keep distance as my presence and message seems to give him more of a reason to go farther into the dark side. And I chose not to have my brother fall any further.

I would love to see him excel again, even though he sought to keep me down.

So, let’s expand this a little more for next time.

Teachers… this can mean a friend, boss, mother, father, sister, brother. It can mean YOU. It can also mean your concept of spirit, the universe or God as you understand and experience it.

Go back and read all of these entries again while putting different folks from your life into the different roles. I promise that if you do this work, you will transform how you think about yourself, your community, and even spirituality.

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Mark J. Ryan

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