Teaching – The Moses Complex

I realized recently that I have the “Moses Complex”.  What is that?  Well, I sorta made the name up.

The Moses Complex begins with the leader telling the subjects the path to follow.  Since the leader (Moses) has been given the wisdom from “on-high” (God), everyone else should know to follow.  It’s simple. Moses has the knowledge.  Moses leads the group to the Promised Land.  The loyal subjects all follow along.  There may be some hard times a long the way.  And the end might seem a little nebulous to the followers.  And the route being taken may be clear to Moses but not to the followers.  But because Moses has the knowledge, experience, insight and leadership role it should be apparent to all others that they should follow him.

Unfortunately for Moses, not everyone else sees it that way.  They may like and respect Moses.  They might agree they want to get to the Promised Land.  But they don’t want to blindly follow him.  And perhaps his Promised Land is not their Promised Land.  Maybe Moses is moving too quickly for them.  Or perhaps they don’t think some of the other people really want to work hard to get to the Promised Land.  Those “moochers” are just holding everything up and taking advantage of Moses.

Moses?  He keeps scratching his head.  “They all know I have the information from ‘on high’.  They know I want to lead them to a much better place.  They like me.  They trust me.  Why aren’t they following with enthusiasm?”.

That is the Moses Complex – because of what we know and the great places we will take others, we ought to be followed.  Enthusiastically.

That is me!  I have lived a life of experiences.  God (and NCR and family and others) have given me a wealth of knowledge.  I need to share it with my students.  I know the potholes in life for young people.  So I am trying to steer them around the holes.  I give them my leadership, my enthusiasm.  Heck, I even give them breaks every-once-in-while.  Why don’t my students mirror my enthusiasm, my passion for the journey to the Promised Land of knowledge?

But that is not the way it can work.  And that is humbling and frustrating for me.  I’ve come to realize even more these days that wanting to impose (yep, that is the right word) my knowledge on others and not having them accept it is MY PROBLEM.  Every human being has a mind and a will of their own.  They must be allowed to employ their own mind for their own destiny.  Taking away that free will is not my role.  So does that mean I give up?  Nope.  I just need to realize that everyone is on their own journey of self discovery.  And I get to be a sign post along the way.  I happen to think I can be a sign post for rationality, planning, optimism and a host of other good qualities.  So I just need to keep modeling those behaviors.  Because everyone I come in contact with will pass by me at some point in their lives – I just can’t dictate when that will be.

That is a humbling reality to accept.

6 thoughts on “Teaching – The Moses Complex

  1. Wow, after reading this I was very impacted and I’m not to sure as why. I agree completely with everything you had stated in your blog!

  2. Also, for every positive Moses there has been a quack as well. Tough sometimes to decide to follow these guys telling you what’s what when you’ve seen/heard of so many turning out to be frauds.

  3. actually the “moses complex” is not something you made up, it’s been used for some time. the moses complex is a product of jewish culture. it is the teaching that as a jewich kid, you need strive to help people, you need to lead them to the “promised land”. it is the driving force behind a need that jewish kids to grow up feeling a responsibility to lead someone or something. you find example of this in the 60s, where many jewish kids were trying to lead the civil rights movement. it’s a jewish thing, part of growing up jewish.

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