Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Art of the Apprentice

Adam shared with me a favorite series of his, The Ranger's Apprentice.  Though Adam and I don't always love the same books - ugh to Harry Potter - usually we share similar taste.  Neither of us, for example, will deign to read the highly popular Twilight series.   

Will Treaty is the hero of the Apprentice series.  He's young at the opening of the series, just a boy.  In his world, he's old enough to be deciding his future and he wants glory and excitement.  Sadly, he's chosen to be the Ranger's apprentice, and thus begins his journey full of not just glory and excitement, but honor and dignity - and the kind of friends a good man deserves.  He becomes a well-respected and renown character critical to his country's safety.

I want to be an apprentice.

I want to sit at the feet of the Master crafter and learn to be exceptional at my trade.

I want to submit my will to my art and calling, rising above the challenge and frustration of the daily chore of improving my skill.

I want to achieve master crafter status and turn to the apprentice at my feet and share my art.

I want the respect due a crafter.

It might be a calling...

Imagine working every day with someone whose talents you long to share, someone with wisdom he shares freely, but only when the time is ripe.  Imagine working one day with another whose talents show promise and who wants to drain every ounce of technique and art from you before his tenure with you is complete.  Imagine mastering something you love, and doing it because you cannot do anything else.

That, I think, is a calling worth following.


I've committed to using the Rotary four-way test in all aspects of my decision-making life - personal and professional.

The four-way test offers the following "test" to apply to any situation:

1.  Is it the TRUTH?
2.  Is it FAIR to all concerned?
4.  Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Just as it's no mistake that the Corinthian definition of love begins with "patience" so too it's no mistake that the four-way test begins with TRUTH.  Often, decision-making occurs with the answer to this very first question.  So many issues and dilemma start with a lie.

Take a moment and apply the four-way test to decision-making moments in your life.  Don't have any issues or dilemmas?  Try some news-worthy issues:
  • Is it ethical to accept a severance package that amounts to more than some employees of the same entity would earn in a lifetime?  How is that FAIR?
  • Is it acceptable to indulge in multiple affairs and intimacies because they're offered freely?  Is it the TRUTH, FAIR, BENEFICIAL?  Does it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  • Is it admirable to confess to an affair with a public figure for the notoriety the confession brings?  How does that build GOODWILL or BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  • Is it wise to move a man accused of wrong-doing from location to location without investigating behaviors?  Ah-hem.  Not even a single "yes" can be applied to that one.
  • Is it honorable to judge another's actions without having walked the proverbial mile in her shoes?  I don't have to belabor the point, right?
Try the four-way.  It works.

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