Parental Obligations

The master-apprentice relationship is a mirror of the father-son relationship. The master is supposed to watch out, care for, and teach the apprentice all he knows. The apprentice works under and for the master to hone her trade and one day become her own master. But sometimes, the master doesn’t.


The mediator’s eyes flick towards the apprentice. “I remember you had some problems last session, have you been able to resolve them?” The apprentice says she has tried. The master doesn’t have enough patience and she has a test coming up. She is worried that she will fail.


The father is above the son and the son is under the father. The father is seen as more worth to society, as he is stronger and wiser. The apprentice is underpaid and overworked.


The specialist looks at the apprentice. She comes to the workplace to do specific jobs the master can’t. She tells one of the part-timers that she thinks the apprentice should “stand up for herself more, she is paid so little and has such large bags under her eyes.”


The father and a son are a family, they eat and live together. They should work as a team, but sometimes the master is too important to do the little things and leaves the apprentice to do it all alone.


“I find that when I am here, I feel like I should be working,” declares the apprentice. She goes home on the days she has off and on Fridays when she has to go to trade school. The part-timer nods his agreement. He doesn’t like to hang around too much, he is afraid that if he is seen, even during his free time, he will be saddled with even more work.


The father chides the son, he says when he was a boy he didn’t act in that way. The master find fault with everything the apprentice does and leaves sticky notes everywhere. Every item is a reminder of a failure.


The master assures the mediator, that he has used positive reinforcement, but might need to be more patient. A traditional version of this situation would surround a nuclear family, but this here is more like a collective. There is no wife to smooth the rough edges of the master.


The son says he will not be like his father, but then grows up and sees his father in the mirror. The apprentice says the same.

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