A common lament in our society today is that our youth have developed a sense of entitlement whereby they believe they are entitled to a cell phone, a computer, an education, a car, or whatever. For some reason, they believe they have a God-given right to such things as opposed to working and earning them. I also see evidence of this in Masonic Lodges where some young officers believe that by simply attending Lodge and wearing a tux, they are entitled to the next chair in the officer rotation. On too many occasions, in too many Lodges, I have seen such officers skate through their responsibilities and accomplish nothing. They still do not know their ritual work, they still do not capably perform the responsibilities that accompany the office, yet they feel entitled to move up in the Lodge. Actually, such people are capitalizing on those Lodges struggling for membership and participation. The mindset tends to be, “If they don’t like what I’m doing, then fine, I’ll leave and they won’t have anybody sitting in a chair.” This is extortion no matter how you try to rationalize it. If this approach is successful, incompetence is rewarded.
I don’t buy such a scenario and have never voted along such lines. I vote for the person I believe is the most competent to hold the office, not the least, and I’m beginning to believe I’m an anomaly in this regards.
In my jurisdiction, there is no real prerequisite for becoming a Worshipful Master other than being a Master Mason in good standing. You do not need to pass any tests, earn any proficiency cards, attend any training, or know any ritual. Heck, you don’t even have to have earned your white leather apron. I have seen quite a few people who have rotated to the East without such qualifications; they just happened to be warm available bodies who can sit in a chair. As an aside, I have never met a person with such a background who was successful as a Worshipful Master. The Lodge simply muddled through his year and stagnated.
It is my understanding that in California, there are “District Inspectors” who review the capabilities of the Lodge officers. If they can pass the muster, they can proceed to the next chair if so elected. The point is, before they proceed to the next chair, they must be properly trained and understand their responsibilities. To me, this is forward thinking.
There is an unwritten rule that a Worshipful Master should prepare his junior officers for moving up if they are so inclined. This is why I think Masonic Education is so important, including the development of administrative and management skills. Unfortunately, today’s Worshipful Masters are facing resistance from the junior officers because of the entitlement issue. Frankly, I see Masonic entitlement becoming worse before it gets better. If people are unwilling to step up to the plate and assume responsibility, or are unwilling to put their best foot forward, maybe its time to think about closing the Lodge and moving on to one who has its act together.
All we can ask from our Lodge officers is one thing; that they at least TRY. I can assure you they won’t be 100% successful. Undoubtedly they will make mistakes along the way, but you’ll be surprised what can be accomplished simply by trying.
Keep the Faith!
PM, MPS, MMBBFMN
“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 www.FreemasonInformation.com
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Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.