In every well balanced Tribe, there is at least one younger, in either age or experience, individual. To borrow a term from Star Wars, a Padawan. And in every tribe, there is a Jedi that provides the wisdom and balance needed in any number of circumstances.
Many years ago I had a baby girl, and a husband that travelled about 80% of the time. While I was fortunate to be able to be home with my daughter, it was quite challenging to adjust to something akin to single parenthood. After doing it for about a year, I had finally figured out a way to make it work without losing my mind completely before he got home. I got used to the bumps in the night, the feeling of walking around an empty house and the weight of being the only one around should an emergency crop up. About this time, one of my closest friends, whose husband hadn’t travelled since they’d had their son, was suddenly faced with her husband being gone for a few days. Because she knew I was fairly experienced at it, she reached out to me. She found herself in uncharted waters and needed a guide. I packed up, we had a sleepover the first night he was gone and then the next night I went home and she handled the rest on her own. All she really needed was a little encouragement, but in this situation she was a Padawan & I was her Jedi.
Lest you think that my role remained that of Jedi with this Tribe member, let me tell you how our roles reversed. You see, my incredible friend is also an incredible mother. She has a son that is autistic. I have watched her educate herself, seek out services for her son, go into battle on his behalf, and even teach other parents/friends how to interact with those on the autism spectrum. Many, many times I have stood in awe of her and her willingness to go to any length necessary to protect and provide for her child. While I have learned a lot from this friend, one of the things I’m most grateful for is the example she set for me in how to go to battle for your child. Sitting at the feet of a seemingly invincible advocate has paid me dividends more times than I can count. Every time I have had to go to bat for my children, my friend has had my back. She reminds me that my job is to provide for and protect my children, even when the world is trying to do just the opposite. She encourages me to persevere, through administrators, coaches, teachers, physicians; whoever and whatever obstacle stands between my kids and their needs. Because of her courage and the wisdom she has imparted to me over the years, I have often prevailed in my advocacy for my kids. In short, I am a grateful Padawan.
Over the years there have been many lessons learned and taught within my Tribe. Each of us has been a Jedi and each of us has been a Padawan at some point. As tempting as it is to think of yourself as a Jedi all the time, I have learned that in truth, a Jedi Master is one who recognizes their need to be a Padawan too.