We have been talking about the apprentice for some time now with a few mention here and there of the master. You might be wondering about the master who appears to do very little in our discussion thus far. It is necessary to state that masters do not come down from heaven as grown people; rather, they grow into it. In summary, every master was once a servant, in this case an apprentice. The curious reader may still ask further – who trained the first apprentice, this should be our next discussion hopefully.
90 out of 100 master – apprentice relationship are always frosty, sometimes from the start of service till the end, but most often from the middle to the end. At this middle expectations dwindle on both parts – rising and falling – and this brings conflict. The master and apprentice relationship has all shades of human relationship in it.
It is like a father-son relationship where the apprentice is provided everything he needs by the master; shelter, food, health insurance, education on life principles (as the master sees life) and security.
It is like a teacher-student relation or further still, professor and their research assistant relation. The apprentice and his master engages on a continuous socio-economic research on how to meet people’s needs, the result is affixed to the master’s name but the apprentice has also built himself up in knowledge and character in the process of research.
On few occasions the master and his boy could have a friend to friend relationship. In this instance they sit together in the sitting room or wherever, drink the same wine, watch the movie or sports together and have unbridled and spontaneous board meetings on how to do better.
We said at the beginning that the master was once an apprentice; so he knows the game of apprenticeship or rules of engagement and comes to his own apprentice with caution, suspicion and experience. So many issues will determine the kind of relationship between this master and his boi boi. Let’s codify them into four basic issues.
- The kind of master or training this current master had
The kind of master he had greatly influences the type of master he himself will be and this will depend to a large extent on how much or less the first master was able to mold him, because he could stay a decade with his master and yet not have any similar character trait or principles. This is not usually the case because most (if not all) apprentice come like virgin lands who cannot escape their masters imprint and seeds.
*There are few though, strong-willed, who have their own outlook on life and will not trade it for anything, not even long years of service.
So if the current master had a master who believed in social profit more than financial profit, he is likely to imbibe in his own apprentice the same values.
2. The kind of apprentice this current master was
In a case where this current master was an apprentice who always tried to outsmart his master; whether through poor financial management or other youthful delinquencies like keeping late nights, he will put in place measures to check such acts by his own apprentice. Some masters do not care what their boys do; all that matters to them is that he be profitable financially.
3. The kind apprentice the current apprentice is.
The apprentice is no robot, he has emotions too so it won’t be a case of garbage in garbage out. It now depends on the master who wants more than a cash cow from his boy, but also seeks to mold his character for society’s benefit. The master has 2 options; to come with force or to use soft social skills. Force will always yield results because of human nature that can be broken to some extent like during the slave trade. The thing is that force does not achieve the master’s purpose 100%, at the corner of any man’s mind will lie hostility or rebellion waiting for a time/chance to change things. If the master begins on time to use soft social skills and it works, then there is a 100% result. It is just like the assimilation strategy the French colonial power used on its colonies; their minds are changed completely. Finally still, the ball lies in the apprentice’s court, the mind is his; so force or soft social skills may not work on him.
4. The financial productivity of the apprentice
Continuing from the last part of the second point, it is mainly for financial reasons that the apprentice is brought in the first place, on the wheels of culture, to serve and be rewarded at the end of his service. So in some master-apprentice relationship, they both do not care about the 3 factors we have listed above; the Freudian description of human personalities has no hold on them, all that matters is for the business to grow even if the boy is crazy.
And the circle continues in the trained training a new trainee and so on.
*****Though he lives with his master, they do not really have much contact at home except for few house chores which the master has no time to supervise, except his wife, a good and bad omen for the apprentice. TBC