So as happens I was involved in a dust up in a Jedi group on facebook. Surprise surprise, I know. And I grateful for it added to my chapter on choosing a Jedi group for the book I am working on. But it also brought forth this Opie rant which I felt like sharing. Lets set the stage….
A topic about emotions comes up within a Jedi group. You however a counter view and an exchange of views from two Jedi ensues. You invest your time and opinion. Another topic on Jedi Service and how to best do that comes up. Again you engage with various Jedi investing time, thoughts, and effort. You care about the Jedi Path and those silently watching, reading, and reflecting on the various opinions offered. However the Administrator feels these “debates” make his group look like “other Jedi groups” which have arguments. So the administrator deletes the last 16 hours worth of discussion.
A couple things. First even incorrect views are teaching tools. The worse decisions in human history give us stark reminders of what not to do. Why these are bad things. And why we should really think before we act. Also the Jedi Path encourages the inquisitive mind. Question! If I tell you the Jedi Way is about punching people int he face that annoy you. You should really question that. Obviously something doesn’t add up.
Second, sweeping dirt under the rug. Throwing trash in your closet. Yeah, these don’t clean your room. They do not make your house better than your neighbors. You are ignoring issues. You are treating the symptom. Setting up the exact problems to resurface. You can only hide dysfunction for so long. Just ask the 1993 Houston Oilers (or last year’s 49’ers). You have to address the underlying causes to truly improve your group. Not simply delete things you personally don’t like to see.
Lastly, each member of a group has a life. They have limited time. The fact they chose to invest it with you is a wonderful thing. When they take time out of their day to offer their two cents it should be valued by the group. Whether agreed with or not is another matter. But certainly we can all agree that sharing our opinions within a group is an invest of time and energy. In a Jedi group we can be confident in saying it is also done with intentions of growth and education in mind. Intention and result being two different things of course, but I digress.
It is simply important in my opinion to invest your time with a group that will honor that investment. Maybe they don’t agree, but certainly they give your words time and thought. They protect your contributions to the group. And continue to honor you commitment to their organization.
These moments were never easy. Teachable moments is what his Master had called them. A time when both the Master and the Apprentice learn something valuable. Not just of the subject, but of each other and their relationship. Kirvin knew well the sting of failure, especially when you wanted to impress your Mentor. Arden had been doing so well lately. She had been receiving praise for her dedicated study and quick application. Her growth and skill were remarkable, but she was falling into the trap of over-confidence, arrogance, and looking down on others. So Kirvin had taken her to one of the tougher testing areas. It would probably be another 10 years before she ever saw this room again. Holographic diplomacy scenarios. Telekinesis Boulder Movement. Advanced Lightsaber Combat Scenarios. Advanced Knowledge of Meditation Techniques and Showing them under duress. Physical obstacle course. It was all very involved and not something she was prepared for. The lesson being that there was always more to learn. No matter how good you think you are there is another level you can reach for. No one is better than anyone else, just at a different stage.
This does not come without its risks of course. Blame can be quick to join someone in such a moment of defeat. It can turn inward and eat away at a person destroying their motivation and drive. Creating a habit of defeatism. A pattern of thought that no matter the effort, it just won’t be good enough. Or it can turn outward destroying trust and dooming a relationship. The key was how one approached the student immediately afterward. The Student has been torn down, the misconceptions they held have been shattered. Now the time comes to help them put the pieces back together. You cannot do it for them, they must find the valuable lessons and learn to pick themselves up. A lesson on failure, infallibility, and the Jedi Way to learn, grow, and move forward. To give the answers is to rob them of those core lessons and create a habit of dependency. Teaching them instead that they don’t have to think for themselves, but can simply turn to you for answers. A delicate time and Kirvin wondered if his Master had experienced the same doubt he was having. Wondering if he was capable of pulling this lesson off.
Arden was standing in the hallway as Kirvin exited the training room. He had given her time to process the events and consider the possible reasons for this exercise. Now was the time to help ensure a very promising Jedi was not lost to the inevitable defeat we all must face during our lifetime. She looked hurt, struggling with the utter defeat she just faced. Kirvin walked over to her and knelt down so they were eye level.
“All things have there purpose. Especially here at the Temple. The schedules on eating, the order of classes, these are all designed with the growth of the Jedi in mind. Likewise this moment right now has a purpose.”
“To tell me I am not good enough?” Arden pouted back.
Kirvin gave a small smile. “What you take away from it is for you and you alone. But know that what you take away from it will help shape you as a person and your future as a Jedi. That is the only hint I’ll give you. When you feel ready, we can talk about the answer you come to. Until then,” Kirvin’s signature grin spreading across his face, “lets go to this really great sweet shop nearby. It is where my master took me when I failed this test.” Kirvin began to standing up to leave and Arden’s eyes widen. “You failed this Master?”
Kirvin looked back still smiling “Come on Padawan. The shop doesn’t stay open forever.” Arden quickly caught up to his side “Yes Master.” Kirvin knew more explaining would be necessary in time, but that she had begun to grasp the most important hint. Failure was not the end. Even a Jedi Knight has experienced failure. The sting would last a bit longer and the lesson would hopefully last a lifetime. But for now they could smile, joke, and he could continue to help her grow into one of the best Jedi Knights the Order would have.
(( Drawing by Rayn44 :: http://rayn44.deviantart.com/ ))