Friday, October 5, 2007
Actions speak louder then words
This is a post that a lodge brother and old friend sent me about what he feels is important in masonry. Brother Tom has a huge heart and uses it often. There is a difference between being a mason and living masonry. Brother Tom does both. I would suggest we contemplate his words the next time we're arguing over minutes or wasting time on bills. Masonry should be about what masons do, not what masons say.
"One of the things that I would change about Freemasonry is our level of community involvement. All to often, it seems like when a brother first enters the Fraternity there is a lot of talk about how we give so much money away. Now I’m not disputing this, but I think as a whole each lodge should and could do more. For example what’s to stop each state from having an annual or monthly soup kitchen run. We could assign certain members of each lodge to donate their time once a month for a period of 4 hours to help run a soup kitchen. We could do things like this and many other activities. For example it’s not just donating money that allows “Masons to help make men better ” Time is also a valuable asset. Many of us can donate time at the Shiner’s hospitals by just reading, educating and entertaining the kids that are in the hospital. I would gladly be willing to put more of my time doing something like, rather then waiting in lodge to hear the minutes read. There is also a lot of preparatory work that can be done on nights where we have meetings.
In our lodge we have an event called breakfast with Santa for the kids. Every year there are two of our lodge members slaving away the night before wrapping present for hours? Why? Why not have the whole lodge help out after the Stated Communication and wrap a couple of presents. Our members are there why not put them to work. We could help organize a phone-athon wherein we call other masons and family members to see if they would donate money for one of the many walk-athons. We could act on behalf of companies such as Habitat for Humanity, UNICEF, or even help our own circle of brothers, like the Shiners Hospitals. We should be calling up big fortune 500 companies and small ones and getting them to donate time, money or both.
When you ask people about community service many say they would love to perform some but often never follow through with it for two reasons. One of the reason is people have never been shown the harsh reality that some people experience, such as elders eating cat food because it’s cheaper. Second, people are a bit intimidated by the fact that they don’t know how they can help. Just imagine for a minute if we could change our lodge dues to also include 12 hours of community service every year. That is just one hour a month. The lodge I currently belong to has 110 members that are dues-paying members. So if those 110 members did 12 hours of service each, that would leave you with 33 weeks of 40-hour community service workweeks. We also share the same building with another lodge. If we teamed up, it would amount to over one year of 40-hour community service workweeks. It’s one thing to say, “making good men better”; and another thing to see it put in action.
I understand that we must have ritual work and stated communications. I’m not disputing that. But I would much rather put some energy and effort into feeling as if I’m making a difference in the community rather then have to sit and listen to minutes read and people arguing over insignificant details.
What really bothers me is that we say we are so great and that we do all these great things. We do give a lot to in comparison to most. However, I think on the local level there are a ton of things that we can do with very little change. But it all starts with our ability to put these plans in actions rather then sit and rant about minutes from the last meeting.
My lodge’s Fellowcraft Club has a game night about once every other month. What’s to stop us from having these game nights at hospices or other community centers where we can interact with our elders? In high school I used to leave school during my study hall just to visit a local elderly care place. I often would be the only visitor some of these people would see for months.
In closing I’m not saying that we should denounce our current system. I just would like it if we did less talking and more action. It shouldn’t take us 30 minutes of arguing to deciding the condiments at a family and friends BBQ. Instead if we should put those 30 minutes to good use. We could spend that time creating something positive and avoid situations were two members are stuck wrapping presents for hours."
Brother Thomas Hardy
So mote it be!