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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Teacher (10/26/06)

TITLE: Shorelines
By L.M. Lee
10/31/06


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Legend has that Socrates was walking along the seashore when a sophomoric young man approached him.

“O great Socrates, please be my teacher!” begged the youngster.

Socrates immediately grabbed the hopeful pupil by the toga, dragged him into the sea, submerged him for a minute and then released him.

Confused the student gathered himself and repeated his request.

In response Socrates dunked the would-be student a second time holding him down for two minutes and then again released him.

Baffled at the great scholar’s irrational behavior, the student ventured one more time to present his original query.

Again Socrates immersed the young man, but this time he did not release him. The young man realizing his apparent fate battled Socrates’ grip. Finally wrestling free the young man broke to the surface choking and gasping for air.

“When you’re as thirsty for knowledge as you were for air, then I’ll become your teacher,” Socrates casually concluded as he headed to shore.

Three of the Gospels recount a similar encounter.

“Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

Fortunately Jesus was not standing near the shoreline when approached with the question, He saved “baptizing” for His cousin John!

In infamous Jesus fashion He posed another question, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

The young man does not say “No problem, I’ve kept the commandments.” Instead he asks “which” commandments? He is positioning for negotiations to assure his ignorance level.

Jesus always capitalized on a teaching opportunity. He begins to list the “moral code” portion of the Ten Commandments knowing what the young man’s response will be.

“All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”

What an amazing statement! Jesus gave His student the answer and instinctively the young man knew there was more. Did he already know the answer? Did he surmise by Jesus’ omission of the first four commandments that he would be unable to obtain eternal life?

The ever perceptive Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Jesus skillfully revealed the young man’s sincerity without submersion!

It is said that when the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear, whether the student is ready for the facts is another issue. Unfortunately, there are times when the learned sage offers crucial information and the student is too distracted to take heed. Experience becomes the impartial teacher forcing the student’s desperate recognition for air.

Whether Socrates’ pupil wised up, is unknown. The Gospels conclude the encounter between Jesus, the Good Teacher and the rich young man. The young man went away sorrowful, for he had many possessions…or more accurately his many possessions had him!

I am always fascinated by these two stories. As a student, what would my response have been? More often than not, experience has been my ultimate teacher. Recognizing the need for air is costly, but early diagnosis is certainly much more economical! O that I would pay attention to the “teachers” who cross my path long before I need to climb out of a pothole!

© 10/31/06


Scriptures quotes from Matthew 19:16-22 {NKJV}


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Member Comments
Member Date
Phyllis Inniss 11/03/06
This is great. I like the way you used these two stories to pinpoint a dilemma for the youth in search of knowledge: What shall I do? The answer may be simple but never easy. I admire the way you handled this topic.
Beth Muehlhausen11/08/06
Yes, good teaching about teaching! I liked this as a summary:

"It is said that when the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear, whether the student is ready for the facts is another issue. Unfortunately, there are times when the learned sage offers crucial information and the student is too distracted to take heed. Experience becomes the impartial teacher forcing the student’s desperate recognition for air."