Ever the Apprentice
His name is Kweku and he is 49 years old. In the past 20 years, you would find him at an upscale corner tailoring shop the last Saturday of each month. Although he has a successful dressmaking franchise and many apprentices, he never shied away from his monthly duties. The humbling thing about these monthly visits was the fact that it was voluntary, yet Kweku was ooo sooo committed. He made this 2 hour monthly trip to see someone he referred to as “Master”. Masters’ real name is Roland. When Kweku was 20 years old, he had completed his Advanced Level Certification but did not perform well enough to again admission into a tertiary institution. Feeling confused, disappointed and strapped for cash, he found employment at a nearby grocery store.
His plan was to retake the exam within a year and hopefully gain admission upon his second attempt. As luck would have it, Roland was one of the regular customers at that grocery store. Roland took am unusual liking to Kweku and would soon strike a casual friendship with him. Aside from his endearing personality, Kweku had a unique sense of style which Roland quickly noticed. Kweku told a tale of how he was self-taught and enjoyed making his own clothes. From repurposing old clothes, to transforming cheap fabrics into couture-esque creations, there was no limit to his creative powers as long as he had fabric, scissors and a sewing machine. Never one to look away, Roland was inspired by Kweku’s creativity and offered to mentor him.
As luck would have it, Roland was a seasoned tailor who loved mentoring young talent. Initially, Kweku hesitated because his dream was not to be a tailor/designer. He wasn’t ready to tell his parents that their only son was about to trade his tertiary education and dream of becoming an economist for clothes-making. He knew he had a knack for making good clothes but it was just a hobby, or so he thought. When Kweku failed to gain admission into the University a second time around, he accepted Roland’s offer on one condition; he would try tailoring for a year while still attempting to pursue his academic goals. If he gained admission into University, he would walk away from tailoring. “Agreed,” said Roland, and thus began a partnership and friendship spanning 3 decades.
It didn’t take long for Kweku to learn the ropes of formal/commercial tailoring; just a few basic skill training in designing, and viola, he became the master apprentice. A year quickly rolled by and instead of pursuing his academic goals, Kweku was creating his own brand of clothes. His Master was kind enough to leverage his network and marketing skills in helping Kweku secure a prime location. Needless to say, Kweku’s designs quickly became a household name and he never looked back. Who would have known that a random encounter at a grocery store would change someone’s life and guide them on their life’s purpose?
Despite his success and busy schedule, Kweku never forgot about his Master. Roland was God sent, the destiny helper he had secretly cried to God for. So how do you show gratitude to a person who asks for nothing in return and really does not need money? Roland was equally successful with many apprentices so he truly did not need anything. But truth is, expression of gratitude does not need to have a monetary component, it could be demonstrated through words, or simple acts of kindness.
Realizing that Roland had recently been diagnosed with an illness. Kweku reckoned that visiting him on a monthly basis and offering support in any way needed would go a long way to lift his Masters spirits. And guess what, it sure did. Roland looked forward to the monthly visits, and truth be told, it was like therapy for both Kweku and Roland. Although Kweku was busy and had his own apprentices, he relished the moment of ever being the apprentice for his Master. It’s a title he coveted and he wore ever so proudly.
What if Roland did not recognize Kweku’s tailoring ingenuity at that critical stage of his life? What would have become of him?
Do you take time to recognize/appreciate the unique strengths in others or are we more interested in pointing out their mistakes?
Can you think of someone who has supported or continues to support you during challenging times? Have you checked on them also to see how they are doing now and/or have you paid it forward by doing same for others?
Each day we awake, we have a brand new opportunity to either make something good of ourselves and others or to create havoc. Which would you choose? Sometimes, the greatest gift you can give someone is an opportunity, not money.
In this month of February and beyond, may LOVE be the language we speak each day.
#support #apprentice #valentine #love #february #gratitude #humility