Undoubtedly, the most visible benefit associated with Freemasonry is the friendship, morality, and Brotherly Love we learn simply by attending Lodge and interacting with the members. It is not unusual for Freemasons to develop lifelong friendships and bonds with other Masons. This should not be surprising as the fraternity represents a society consisting of men with common interests, and such commonality is comforting to us all.
Aside from this, how does Freemasonry add value to our lives? Frankly, there are several subliminal ways we are affected personally and professionally by our participation in the fraternity; some examples:
- Socialization Skills – through the structured decorum of our formal meetings and the informality of others, we learn to respect, cooperate, participate and network with people. In other words, it influences our behavior in terms of how we interact with our neighbors, friends, coworkers, customers and vendors. This tends to make us more socially adjusted and proactive in our communities and companies.
- Speaking and Memorization Skills – our catechisms and degree work, although trying at times, helps sharpen our brains as well as our tongues. Although our terminology may seem somewhat archaic, it is useful for improving one’s vocabulary. Further, returning catechisms, and delivering degrees and lectures helps overcome the human fear of audiences and materially assists in making us better public speakers, something that is particularly needed in our professional lives regardless of our occupation.
- Dress – Again, because of the decorum of our meetings, we learn the value of dressing appropriately to cultivate a positive image. I have met several Brothers who have cleaned up their act simply by their association with the fraternity, thereby turning a slovenly image into one that is more positive and professional.
- Organization & Leadership – For those members who become Lodge officers, it is not uncommon to learn basic organization and leadership skills, such as: planning and scheduling, managing records and finances, building maintenance, communications and persuasion, etc. All of this is useful to us in both our personal and professional lives.
- History – as the world’s oldest fraternal organization, we impress the need for customs and traditions on all of our members. But beyond this, many Masons become fascinated with our history and learn to research and write on a variety of subjects related to the fraternity. Masons, therefore, appreciate the lessons of history and develop effective writing skills which also help us in the outside world.
- Volunteerism – our philanthropy is legendary and it is impressed on every Mason to help others as generously as their ability permits. Aside from the moneys we donate, Masons learn to volunteer their time to assist others, knowing if they help another, they may expect assistance from others in return. This concept alone is in sharp contrast to today’s “dog-eat-dog” corporate culture. Basically, Masons learn a little kindness can go a long way.
- Negotiation Skills – in order to persuade people to move in a specific direction, Lodge officers must learn how to negotiate with others. Such skills are vital not only in our professional lives but also in our personal lives as well.
Sociologists who have studied Freemasonry have admitted that Freemasonry “takes a good man and makes him better.” No, the fraternity is not intended to teach us business skills, but surprisingly it does nevertheless. Nor do I believe anyone joins the fraternity for this purpose. Regardless, these are some of the subliminal perks associated with the fraternity which does, in fact, add value to our lives as well as others we come in contact with.
Read a reply to this piece from Fred Milliken, author of The Beehive – My Reply To Tim Bryce on How Does Freemasonry Add Value To Our Lives
Keep the Faith.
by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry
NOTE: The opinions expressed in this essay are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of any Grand Masonic jurisdiction or any other Masonic related body. As with all of my Masonic articles herein, please feel free to reuse them in Masonic publications or re-post them on Masonic web sites (except Florida). When doing so, please add the following:
Article reprinted with permission of the author and FreemasonInformation.com
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Also be sure to check out Tim’s “Pet Peeve of the Week” (non-Masonic related).
Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.