Improving the Relationship between Master and Padawan

Posted Originally on Jedi365.

Communication
“Each of us is still an individual. We will have worries and concerns that are unique to us. We cannot expect to always understand each other. The commitment (to each other) is what is important.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
For the Student: First and foremost open and honest communication helps to cultivate the other items on our list (especially trust). Being a Jedi isn’t about being liked and agreed with by everyone (even if by “everyone” we mean only the Jedi Community). Likewise it isn’t agreeing or liking everyone. It is about being honest with yourself. There will be Jedi you won’t agree with or like and guess what? That is okay. This helps you tremendously in finding Jedi that gets your sense of style, humor, and approach. Which in turns help you as you explore the Jedi Path. You don’t want to enter an apprenticeship with someone who will make you tear out your hair on a constant basis (not as the student or mentor). Be You and explore and discuss the Path openly and honestly. I promise you will find someone who vibes with that.
For the Mentor: Like the rest of the list, this really starts with you. Your willingness to be open and honest, you communicating clearly and directly will set the tone for the Apprenticeship. Be as clear and upfront as possible. Don’t try to be someone you’re not (don’t play Yoda when you are more like Anakin). Talking about your experiences and views is important for your student and for finding a student that will be a good fit for you.

Trust
Secret, shall I tell you? Grand Master of Jedi Order am I. Won this job in a raffle I did, think you? “How did you know, how did you know, Master Yoda?” Master Yoda knows these things. His job it is.” – Yoda
For the Student: There are certain things that you are going to have to trust in your Apprenticeship. That your Mentor earned their place and rank. That they will safe-guard your personal information and personal struggles. That they will not abandon you or throw you to the wolves. That they will be able to help you reach your goals. That they will be able handle your endless questions and boundless curiosity. And that when things get heavy, crazy, or outright seems like your universe is caving in on itself, that they will be able to help you not only survive it, but come out better for it. What is important here is that Trust. Because you may not fully get or understand why they are doing what they are doing. You may want them to respond and act a certain way. Their approach may not be what you were expecting. This can cause doubt, but it is here that you need to trust in the process. Trust in your mentor. Trust in the Path. And most importantly – trust in yourself.
For the Mentor: Trust is a two-way street which begins with you. “Trust isn’t worth anything when it’s built on lies.” – Seha Dorvald (fictional Jedi Knight) If you really want a solid and firm training relationship than your student needs to trust you and that begins with you giving that trust. First and foremost, trust yourself that you didn’t pick a crazy Padawan that is going to run around throwing marshmallows at the Jedi Council during the Annual Jedi Gathering. I mean, unless the Council deserves it, which they probably do, so nevermind that example (and guess what we are doing this gathering now?). Still, point being that you chose your student for a reason. Presumably many reasons which were all grounded in common sense and good expectations. So extend them the courtesy of treating them as a honored Jedi whose council you value. Trust them so you can communicate what is going on in your life, what struggles you have faced, and may be facing. Trust that they will seek understanding and not ignore you or ditch you. Trust that they trust you.

Patience
Moving faster gives you little time to think.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
For the Student: Or more to the point – little time to apply. The Jedi Way is not that complex. It is not this great mystery. You can learn the general concepts in a very short amount of time. What does not come out of that time is experience. There is a difference between knowing a thing and experiencing a thing. Reading a book on How-to Snowboard can teach you a lot, but it cannot make up for actually getting out there and snowboarding. Thus patience is required. Yes, you may know the Jedi Code, but how well have you lived it? There is a reason your Jedi mentor is a mentor. They have been there and done that a few times over. So be patient and trust the pace they set. And if that feels off – communicate that. Amazing how this all ties together right?
For the Mentor: Simple – you were a slow-on-the-pick-up, million-question-asking, hungry-for-all-knowledge-ever, over-confident and brash young student as well. Relax. Keep it simple. Remember what it was like when you were a young and excited Jedi first exploring the path. No question is a stupid question. Because you have heard the question a million times before has no relevance to your student asking it for the first time. Empty your cup as well and embrace the long journey ahead. Treat your student with the patient respect they deserve. After-all they felt and agreed that you were the best mentor for them; don’t forget that trust they have placed in you.

Ask Questions
It was good for a Jedi to question…. Discipline was necessary, but unquestioning obedience was a limiting thing, not a growing one.” – Luke Skywalker
For the Student: This is a core thing to do before Apprenticeship and definitely continues afterward. You will not know if you do not ask. If you don’t ask the answer will always be no. That sort of thing. So be sure to speak up. If something doesn’t seem right. If you find yourself confused. Whatever the reason may be, if you have a question ask it. You are not a bother. This is what your Mentor signed up for. Anytime, Any Question. So make use of your time with them. Bug them. Bury them with questions. Give no quarter. Doesn’t even have to be Jedi related. Want to know why the sky is blue? Ask. Want to know why they favor a green lightsaber blade? Ask. Want to know their stance on political voting and who they support? Ask. No question is off the table. Unless your Mentor specifically communicates to you that something is off the table. Sometimes a certain subject requires more time before it can be explored – if that happens, remember Trust and Patience.
For the Mentor: So obviously you know to ask questions before taking on a student and the importance of all that. So the main thing I want to stress here is to Ask, don’t tell. Don’t feel you have to have all the answers. And whether you do have the answers or not, the most important thing you can do is simply ask more questions. Help develop that line questioning so that it leads to answers. Asking the right right question can make a lightbulb go off. Not only that, but asking questions allows a student to explore the topic themselves rather than getting an answer to memorize. Ask questions so the student can experience it, rather just be told an answer.

Be Humble
Do you remember Yoda’s little maxim about humility?”
“Humility endless is,” Anakin quoted.
“That’s the one. Did you ever hear Mace Windu’s translation?” Anakin shook
his head.
“You’re never too old to make another big mistake.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker
For the Student: You are the Student for a reason. Clear? Empty your cup and remember that no is perfect or all-powerful or all-knowing. Be a student. Enjoy it. Relish it. Remember it.
For the Mentor: You are a guide. You don’t get eminent domain over your student. You are a simple Jedi who got to where you are because of various other Jedi and people who helped you along the way. You are not special. You are not the best there is. You are not infallible. Take your ego out of it and simply offer the Jedi Way in a honest and open manner.

Failure is Okay
One can fail at a task but still learn the lesson.” – Luminara Unduli
For the Student: It is going to happen. I mean that is just life. It helps with humility for sure. You will trip. You will stumble. You will make mistakes. And that is okay, as long as you learn from it. That is the key. Each success is a teachable moment and great experience as a Jedi. Each failure is a wonderful lesson and an important experience as a Jedi. Will you feel bad when you fail? Most likely. Failure rarely makes us feel happy and giddy. That is okay, it teaches us that we want to succeed. It provides as with information on how to succeed. You don’t have to like it, but understand it is okay to fail.
For the Mentor: A good way to enforce humility is remembering the mistakes we made to get where we are. Part of remembering the importance of failure is looking at where we are and where we use to be. It is not the end. We still have a long road ahead of us. There will be more bumps along the path. Be as your student. Learn from it and remember that it is okay to learn the hard way. It is what you do after failure that matters the most.

Save the Apologies
Do not be sorry. Learn.” – Saba Sebatyne
For the Student: “Sorry if I am asking too many questions.” “Sorry I messed up.” “Sorry I didn’t remember.” “Sorry I missed the due date.” “Sorry life got busy.” “Sorry I don’t know that one.” SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! Don’t be sorry. Learn. The best apology is to not do it again. Or in the case of silly apologies like, “asking too many questions” pfft. Look, apologize for things that cause a problem. Asking questions, seeking guidance and learning, this is not something to apologize for. Smacking your Jedi Mentor in the face with a toy lightsaber? Yeah, probably apology territory, but again – best way is to simply learn from it. It use it as a lesson, learn from it. “I apologize, I didn’t mean that. I shall endeavor to not allow that to happen again.” Don’t wallow in sorrow. Don’t get lost in feeling sorry. No pity parties. Use it as a way to improve.
For the Mentor: You should have this one down already. So I’ll leave it at the quote.

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