Models of Formation

I am a Jesuit under formation to become a Jesuit priest. One of the most commonly used/available/famous model for forming and guiding others is the potter-clay model. There are innumerable Bible verses which speak of clay-potter relationship as the relationship of God and human beings. It is the wish of the potter, what clay has to be made into. It could be made to vessels or pots of various sizes depending on the need/circumstances.

A question that can emerge is, does the potter listens to the clay before it is being made into something. Does s/he listens to the yearnings of the clay. When God is the potter, we could argue that as God is the creator who knows, he can offer the best model to the person. (A non-believer may not find any sense in the above statement)

But what about guides, counselors, formators, parents and elders? Can they become potter in the process of guiding or forming others? I ask this even for the guides/formators who are deeply spiritual or the ones who have high intuition.

I think a better model (still not perfect) in such cases would be that of sculptor carving the sculpture from a stone. Definitely I am not speaking of the sculptors who are greatly skilled and carve beautifully as they wish. But there are few (in today’s world their number would be very few) who listens to the yearnings of the stone, who meditates over it, and see the sculpture/art present in the stone and just chisels out the unnecessary parts.Such a sculptor is like a midwife who helps the sculpture to emerge, not necessarily creating a sculpture.

Potter-clay Model

Sculptor Model

Desire/dream of potter is primary Yearnings of stone is primary
It is potter’s creation It is not sculptor’s creation, but he aids in the revelation.
The only role of clay is to be molded as the potters likes. There is a collaboration between the sculptor and the stone; sculptor is just a facilitator.
We get good followers; No trouble /challenge for the creator. We get visionaries and prophets. Can challenge the sculptor if s/he goes wrong. 
I become one of the many pots, same as the other, unless my potter felt a special interest in me and made me special. My Uniqueness is preserved/appreciated
I think like my creator or as how s/he wishes me to think I have a unique style of thinking

None of our formation/education fits perfectly into either of these models. But they would lean to either of these sides. I do hope our education models may tend more towards the sculptor model where the individuality, creativity and uniqueness of the person are respected. Such happy people will give rise to a happy society.

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