Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bemoaning the lost "master/apprentice" philosphy

This is by no means an original thought, but it is one that is rising up again within me.

I've been feeling that one of the biggest things missing in our culture (maybe the biggest?) is the master/apprentice philosophy. You know, the whole jedi knight training his young Luke Skywalker thing. It's gone, and because of it, we are broken.

I started thinking about it because I've done so many "internships" in my life. (I had two ministry internships back in the 90's, and I'm now in the final weeks of my second legal internship.) All of my internships have been relatively good experiences in which I've met some very cool people and learned a ton. Yet they remind me that there aint many people out there in this world who are looking to invest themsevles into the next generation of whatever they are or do. I'm not coming down hard on them -- it would be hypocritical for me to do so since Phil Webster, Keith Bradley, and John Veech all "interned" for us here in Vegas, and I'm sure could write the same thing about their experience. It's just a widespread cultural reality.

Especially for men. Once we get ahold of any kind of position or expertise in life, we are usually too afraid we'll be found out and lose what we've attained to ever feel secure enough to give ourselves away to those who may come next.

And it affects our parenting too. We buy our kids stuff, or take them to cool places, all to cover up the fact that we just don't have the skills to be their life mentors. We are a generation of unmentored non-mentorers. And it's why the culture is often so dark and broken, I believe.

Churches even talk about it, but usually end up developing some kind of mentoring program to address it. We know how to put on programs, but unfortunately we don't know how to mentor someone. (and if we did, we wouldn't do it through a program anyway, we'd just do it).

I wonder if the greatest calling on our lives isn't to find enough health to be able to break the chain and start really parenting, mentoring, guiding those who come next. I'm talking about in every area of life: spiritual, vocational, biological. Yet we must beware lest we try to control others under the guise of wanting to mentor them. I guess I'm saying that the core problem is that we are too broken to parent or mentor without it just devolving into us trying to control someone out of selfish motives.

Unfortunately this post is more of a diagnosis than a prescription. Something to keep pondering . . .