Prayer notwithstanding, it is still often necessary to confront certain habits head on and refuse to indulge them any more.
The teacher needs to remember that when his students begin to make changes, and to break their negative character traits, they begin as well to block the flow of will into corresponding negative behavior. The energy backs up and builds pressure until it can find an alternative outlet. The teacher must be sensitive to this dynamic and leave options for rerouting and redistributing that energy. Often this may mean a temporary intensification of another undesirable trait. Thus it may seem at first that nothing has been accomplished–that while negative trait “A” has been eliminated, negative trait “B” has grown even more pronounced. Yet, the teacher should not be disheartened, for this is only a temporary condition. Slowly, his students will adapt to the change, the excess energy will redistribute itself, and they will settle into a new and healthier ways of being.”
However, if the teacher tries to change more than one character trait at a time, neglecting to leave an alternative route for backed up energy, he will create an explosion of pent up energy which at best, will undermine his success, and at worst, will cause real psychological damage, as noted earlier.
This sixth skill, of choosing how to actually proceed in bringing about the envisioned change through a step-by-step series of improvements is facilitated by a thorough knowledge of Torah. When the teacher appreciates the underlying principles involved, his patience will come from a deeply internalized place of understanding why this excruciatingly gradual approach to change is necessary. Consequently, he will be especially careful in this regard–never pushing too hard and always considering the energy flows involved. On the other hand, he will also be able to innovate and adapt the process to each person’s particular needs. Only an educator with a thorough and practical understanding of principles can improvise in this way. For example, while anyone can learn to drive a car, only a mechanic can adjust it to various altitudes and road conditions. Finally, by studying the psychology of soul, a teacher will understand that each intermediate goal, as well as the ultimate aim, must be formulated as a clear vision–this being the most potent way of overcoming the student’s inherent resistance to change.