A Kabbalistic Approach to Spiritual Growth

A Kabbalistic Approach to Spiritual Growth: Part 50 – Designing a Strategy

The educator must develop the skill to analyze his student's personality, organize his or her character traits into various categories, and design a strategy of rectification specific to each trait.

As we proceed through the seven skills of effective education, we are progressing from general to specific and from theoretical to practical. Thus in each succeeding stage, the educator must make more detailed observations concerning his students, and more concrete plans for utilizing that information. This expanding data base enables a more precise formulation of goals, a development which alone ensures success.

This principle–that the more specific our goal, the more certain its realization–is the secret of mastery in all areas of life (in career, personal and spiritual growth, education, problem‑solving, meditation, etc.); its application is universal. The extent to which our desires are vague, general, fleeting or whimsical, is the extent to which they lack sufficient drive to actualize themselves in physical reality. This is a verifiable law of nature. Even the business world has incorporated this principle into its managerial systems. In this stronghold of pragmatism where only the profitable can hope to survive, "management by objective" has taken root. This is a program of short and long term planning based on the power of developing and articulating goals, and it has proven highly successful.

Although teachers and businessmen may be worlds apart, nevertheless they share a common passion–the desire to be effective in their work. The teacher is likened to a repairman presented with the task of fixing an appliance, where the first step is to identify which parts need replacement, which need repair, and which need only a drop of oil for protective maintenance.

The educator must approach his task with utmost care, proceeding delicately and systematically, without damaging any of the pieces or forgetting how everything fits together. In the process of examining each detail of his student's psyche, the educator actually develops a relationship with that aspect of the student. This deepened knowledge and closeness generates more extensive overall insights concerning the student, rendering the educator's instruction more reliable and penetrating.

Next, the educator must categorize each aspect as good, bad, or borderline. This requirement of classification is not an end in itself. Rather, it is the basis for identifying the appropriate treatment with maximum specificity. Without this preliminary stage, the teacher can only approach the student holistically and thus forfeits the option of isolating specific problems. (Imagine if dentists would only treat cavities by pulling the whole tooth.) Without this effort of analysis, the teacher is stuck in the "disposable" mentality that characterizes the Western world today–if it's broken, throw it out and get a new one, or if the relationship isn’t working, get a divorce and find someone else. But, by breaking things down into categories, one can keep the good, fix the fixable, and still replace the bad.

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