Becoming a Soul Provider

I am excited as I am almost done with Tim Elmore’s insightful book Artificial Maturity. What a great read in helping me better understand this Gen iY and how to connect with them for leading to authentic maturity. The title for my post comes from chapter 12 of the book and I find myself intrigued with the term “soul provider.”

Photo courtesy of njaj |
Photo courtesy of njaj |

There are many terms that I enjoy which are ascribed to teachers: guide, symphony conductor, gardener. But the term of “soul provider” is one that caused me to pause – I really like that phrase. Why? Because it speaks to the core essence of why I do what I do each day in the classroom.

I do lesson plans, I do teach, I do school.

But a soul provider? That speaks of a higher cause, a loftier platform, a greater calling. And so the goal of this post today is to summarize this brilliant chapter by Tim Elmore in the hope that you may be able to fill a few more spots in that teaching utility belt of yours.

Elmore states that “needed change is transformational, not transactional.” Ahh yes, transaction speaks of performance, but transform? It speaks to change from within, that hidden agenda, so to speak, of our curriculum in the classroom.

Elmore offers us six gifts that we can give as soul providers:

  • Soul providers paint pictures. They are vision casters for their students and remind them (even when brushed off) through stories and illustrations of what life could look like.
  • Soul providers provide handles. They give their students something to grab onto in such a way that principles are user-friendly and students become owners, practitioners, and reproducers of that principle.
  • Soul providers supply road maps. They speak of direction and destination to their students and also show what roads to take and what roads to avoid to get there.
  • Soul providers furnish laboratories. They give their students safe places to practice the truths they have learned.
  • Soul providers give roots. They help their students develop lives based on character instead of just emotion.
  • Soul providers offer wings. They are cheerleaders that help their students think big, ask the right questions, and take proper risks.

Transformational, not transactional. Don’t teach just for content. Provide for a soul.

Community Input: How are you a soul provider in your own classroom?


5 thoughts on “Becoming a Soul Provider

  1. This post makes me want to read his book. I would love to read more about how he practically applies the idea of being a soul provider for students in contrast to being an information provider.

    • And I would recommend you read it, but probably read his Gen iY book that precedes Artificial Maturity first. Elmore has really motivated me in being the type of teacher that transforms lives. Thanks for the post!

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