I Like People With Less

You would probably think that if I needed counsel or advice I would seek out someone who is well educated in the area I need help. I should probably find an expert in the matter that’s troubling me. It seems somewhat counterintuitive, but I am finding that those who know less can actually help me more.

Listen to C.S. Lewis, “The fellow-pupil can help more than the master because he knows less. The difficulty we want him to explain is one he has recently met.” He can help me more because he knows less.

I know this tends to be true when one of my children asks me to help them with something in their homework, or a friend asks my help on a computer problem she is experiencing. Because I have already worked out the steps, I no longer have to proceed sequentially; that is, I don’t have to go from Step A to Step B to Step C, and so on until I get to the answer. Because of my past experience, I can jump right to Step K.

Great for me. Totally unhelpful to those asking for my advice. In essence, I’m doing all of their thinking for them. I haven’t taught them anything, except that I’ll do their work for them.

Lately, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with a friend who is thinking about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. He has very, very little church background, so I have been forced to go back to Step A with him, because Steps K, L, M, and the like would make no sense to him.

This is why I love being around the unchurched, the dechurched, and the never-churched. This is why I love talking to and listening to teenagers and 20-somethings who are new to their relationship with Jesus. These fellow pupils are so recently going through situations that it really makes me pause to go back to my beginnings.

Try it yourself. There is some great wisdom in those who have “been there done that.” But I’m also getting some great insights from those who are “here now doing this.”

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