There are times when mature people really frustrate me.
Seasoned pastors and leaders (and lecturers themselves, it must be said) can peer into a training programme like ours at Carey and be a little too hasty to contribute into it out of their current and exciting 'growing edge', rather than rewinding to what was useful for them when they were at a similar age and stage as the students.
Sometimes this ends up as being as dumb as trying to build the fifth storey of a building without taking time to lay the foundation properly. I am surprised by how often people of maturity are unwilling to extend to students the grace of time to grow - the very grace on which their own growth has been so dependent. How often do I come across a pastor/leader in their 50s expecting a graduate in their 20s to be far more advanced than they themselves were in their 20s?! That seems so unfair to me. We are in such a hurry today. But fruit takes time to ripen.
Afterall the student years are not the end of a training experience, they are merely the beginning of a lifetime of training. Not everything has to be crammed into those student years. Some things can wait for the trajectory which living life creates...
And if you don't mind me changing the image from 'foundation' to 'core', then consider these two comments that ring continually in my ears (emphasis added by me):
"If we avoid rehearsing the core of biblical faith then it will be lost in one generation. If it goes without saying, then it needs to be said." (Peter Adam, Hearing God's Words 17)
"During the past twenty years there has been a quite frightening tendency to assume the center without really being able to articulate much about it and then to gravitate to the periphery ... (and) sooner or later the periphery is in danger of displacing the core - at least in our affections and energy, and perhaps in our theology (or that of our children)." (DA Carson, The Gagging of God 566-567).
Yes, "that of our children" ... and that includes our 'spiritual' children as pastors and leaders and lecturers. We need to keep building the core and we need to keep giving students the time to get that core in place.
I keep warning myself that 'an emphasis in a teacher easily becomes an extreme in a student'. I need to keep that warning alive.
I keep apologising to students for prefacing my instruction with 'when I was at your stage this is what I found helpful...' Maybe I need to put that apology to bed.