Phase 4: Mentorship — Age 65 to 85+
“Mentorship is the time when,
We turn our attention from the constant call of “I” to “Thou”.
— The Anonymous Craftswoman
In Greek mythology, Mentor was the trusted friend of Odysseus (Ulysses) and the tutor of Telemachus, Odysseus’ son. During the Trojan War, Odysseus entrusted the care of his household to Mentor. Since then, Mentor has become a reference to “one who is a trusted advisor”.
Mentoring as an act, usually implies direct interaction in the role of guide, with the learner or mentee in a quality manner. In life, there are times and places when we are called upon to mentor another in the traditional sense, who is facing a challenge and needs a trusted advisor. But these situations as they may appear from time to time throughout our lives last a moment.
After all, we are engaged full-time in Apprenticeship, Journeywork or Masterwork which place our own lives as the center of attention. In the practice of life-as-a-craft, the Mentorship Phase age 65–85 and beyond, is the time when we can now turn our attention from the constant call of “I” to “Thou”.
In the way of craftsmanship, the Mentorship Phase which spans a 20+ year time period, is not referring to the act of personal mentoring in the traditional sense, rather, it defines the fourth phase; the time period in the practice of life as a craft, during which the primary objective is to display and make accessible to those who would seek it, select masterworks, knowledge and skills development exercises as may be recorded in the Master’s Journal, pertaining to the craftsperson’s experience in the subjects they chose to practice from within each of the Five Elements, and an account of their practice of craftsmanship.
Which Artifacts to Select
In the Apprenticeship Phase of life-as-a-craft, the apprentice is focused on what to learn; that is the contents within the Five Elements curriculum of life-as-a-craft, and developing the skill of how to learn or “self-educate in the absence teachers or institutions”. Today, the tools of distance learning available through the world wide web make this more attainable than at any other time in human history.
In the Mentorship Phase the Master craftsman is focused on ‘selecting which masterpieces, craft-knowledge and skills to transfer’, and ‘selecting the appropriate vehicles for transferring these artifacts.
Thus, the primary work to be done in the Mentorship phase is comprised of reviewing and selecting which individual work products and content from one’s Master’s Journal should be ‘called out’ as examples of successes and failures experienced in the task of making ones masterpieces.
This is not a simple task. Making a masterpiece never is.
In the Japanese and broader Zen way of craftsmanship, is a principle known as Ma (pronounced “maah”) which recognizes the empty space or void between solid objects as a ‘thing’ in itself given form by the adjacent objects.
It is this empty space that allows the solid objects to stand out making it easier to fix ones attention. You will have to decide ‘what to leave out’ from among your artifacts, to provide adequate empty space to focus others attention on which artifacts you have decided ‘to leave in’ for display.
In the way of craftsmanship, where one’s craft work is intended to benefit the well-being of the world around us as well as oneself, these selected craft-work artifacts are the tangible contribution to one’s family heritage, and the vehicle for transmitting the message “I did this for all of us” to the next generations of apprentices.