got me a college girl

in celebration of formal education in the life of the Christian girl

Monday, June 27, 2005

Apprentices and Masters (Mollie)

Many of the anti-college crowd embrace apprenticeship. They send off their children at the appropriate age in order to have them learn the trade or whatnot from the "master." Personally I believe that apprenticeship can be a profitable and worthy education choice for some people. What concerns me, however, is that many of the "masters" chosen to educate the children of these anti-college parents are actually not "masters" of the craft at all. They may have some talent in an area, but they are certainly not worthy of the title "master." I find it strange to call such a person "master" when she hasn't seen enough of the craft in order to have outside sources say, "This is a successful person who is a master of their craft!"

If, for instance, I were to send my daughter to apprentice under a Master Homekeeper, I would send her to work under the guidance of something of a Christian Martha Stewart. I would insist that the Master be an ingenious gardener, able to identify all plant life (using latin names, of course). She would be a fabulous cook, knowledgeable in the cuisine of many cultures, able to chop quickly without cutting herself, organized enough to have a well stocked kitchen at all times yet on a reasonable budget. The master would have to have magic in her fingers as she sat at the sewing machine. She would never have pizza stuck to her kitchen floor and if, for some reason, something similar were to be stuck to her floor she would not automatically give the clean-up job to her apprentice -- she would do it herself and her apprentice would see that mama normally takes care of such jobs. She would be a dumpster diver and treasure seeker. She would have a well-worn Bible and would teach my daughter from it regularly. She would have a model marriage in which her husband serves and loves her, in which she serves and honors him. She would have to be a gentle mother, with kind hands and words. She would not take advantage of my daughter, her apprentice, delegating the primary childcare to a novice. She would teach this greatly important task to my daughter by example, primarily. She would be well-versed in child development, and would pass this, as well as the practical aspects of child-rearing and homekeeping.

Above all, I would want to be sure that my daughter would be learning that a mother needs to know many, many things in order to be most successful in her job -- and that oftentimes, mama has to "go it alone." Her husband will be there some of the time, but for the most part, mother carries the homekeeping and child-rearing burdens. She will need to know that she may not have a "mother's helper" in her own home one day, that she is not apprenticing to be a mama who has a mama's helper, but that she is apprenticing to do the job, to do it well, without complaining and with joy, by herself.

Of course, college girl that I am, there is about a 99% chance my daughter will be a college girl, too, so . . .

9 Comments:

  • At 5:49 PM, Blogger college girl said…

    I COMPLETELY agree with this. I would have no problem allowing Kate to be a mother's helper to a young mom during the summer or afternoons if that family REALLY needed the help, but I wouldn't see that as a master-apprentice situation as I see a lot of young women doing. I wouldn't want anyone apprenticing with me right now!

     
  • At 5:50 PM, Blogger kristen said…

    Oops!

    That was me.

     
  • At 2:39 PM, Blogger Camille said…

    But still. Wouldn't it be a better "education" to be a mother's helper for several different mothers over the years? What if one is lacking in the cooking area and another is a whiz in the kitchen? They'll balance each other out.

    This was always my Dad's critique of more singular kinds of education. One person can't simply do it all, and you get an unbalanced, lopsided human being.

    It's like a second or third generation photocopy.

     
  • At 8:51 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said…

    I think of the Europen apprentence system, with the guilds and such... If I recall my history correctly, it was rather structured and it was clear who had really "mastered" the trade, correct? If you wanted your son apprenticed in say, shoe-making, you sought the best apprenticeship possible, and there was cultural & societal standards that guided this process, correct? There is just nothing like this in our society today that I'm aware of.

     
  • At 11:43 AM, Blogger college girl said…

    exactly, elizabeth. i find it particularly ludicrous that those apprenticing to be homemakers and mothers are working with moms who are totally new at the thing and are really more burned out than anything. what new mama wouldn't love having another person in the house to do the work that she's too tired to do? what is the apprentice learning from this? they're learning to be burned out. in my opinion, of course. :)

     
  • At 1:00 PM, Blogger greenemama said…

    woops, that was me. :)

     
  • At 2:25 PM, Blogger Nikkiana said…

    I haven't much experience with the anti-college crowd myself... I've actually only heard rumors of Christian circles that are like this over the Internet... But I digress...

    I think there's some value in having a "mother's helper" arrangement between a family and a teenage girl... a lot of teenagers these days don't learn a lot of homemaking skills... But I don't really understand making a master-apprentice arrangement out it...

     
  • At 3:46 PM, Blogger Crystal Ben-Ezra said…

    Wow! By the way you women are talking, it seems there are a LOT of young teenage girls helping out young mothers. That's great!

    I'm not sure that the teenager in my home sees herself as an apprentice and me as a master. Though surely there are things that I can teach her since I have experience that she does not.

    The Bible says the "older" women are to teach the "younger." Unfortunately, in our day, many of the older women aren't masters either. I can count on one hand the older women I know who had more than 2 kids. There are very few women I can call up and ask..."So what was your fifth pregnancy like?" So often the younger women need to apprentice under slighter older, "younger women." That is a sad thing.

    However, this post really reminds me of the Older Woman who was my "Master." She was an "older" woman (in her late 40's and 50's). And I am blessed that I was able to apprentice under such a woman. Now, she has her reward as she is with Jesus!

    And yes, she did know the names of all the plants in her garden... probably in Latin, though I never asked. :-)

     
  • At 8:23 PM, Blogger kristen said…

    Well, Crystal, you could call Karen...

    I don't think Mollie is saying there is nothing a teenager can learn from a young mother. I certainly wouldn't say that. The summer before my senior year in college, a new reformed church was planted in the area I was living and I became a charter member. I was in college full-time and working part-time, but I occasionally went over to help my pastor's wife (who had 3 kids 4 and under and was expecting a fourth) for an afternoon. I did learn by watching and helping her. When a just-married woman got pregnant and went on bedrest, I went over once a week to scrub her bathroom floors, run errands and cook a meal. I would eat with this couple and participate in their family devotions and even sometimes spend the night. I learned some things about what I wanted marriage to look like watching them.

    Did I see this as a substitute for my education? No. Did I see them as masters? No. They were godly women in different stages of life I was privileged to serve and to learn from, but I don't think that being in their homes full time would have expontentially expanded what I would have learned from them. They weren't masters at managing lots of young kids or of being married. They were learning themselves.

     

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