The Badge Of A Mason

Once again The Beehive is proud to present a paper from Brother Wayne Anderson’s Weekly Newsletter.

Brother Anderson hails from Ontario, Canada and E-Mails out a paper each week, usually on Sunday, to everybody on his list. To get on Brother Anderson’s list E-Mail him at wda_572@sympatico.ca

Brethren the following was presented by R.W.Bro.Hugh Goldie on his official visit to Rideau Lodge No. 460 Seeley’s Bay, Ontario on Thursday 1 November 2012. I hope you will enjoy his paper.

Why should I join Masonry?

What would you say to a possible new member?

You’re interested in joining the Masonic lodge? We’d love to have you. You’re the type of person we look for: committed, enthusiastic, a leader. We think you’ll do great things here. You will make lifelong friendships, and hopefully, you’ll be the type of person whose positive impact will be felt here for many years.

This is the start of something really cool.

We know you have your reasons for joining, and we also know that the reasons you’ll stay will be entirely different. Trust us on that one. People tend to join for different reasons. They stay around for the friendships and because they find a place where they can impact the lives of others. It’s a family. We know this. Soon, you will, too.

The badge of membership will soon be yours. But, there’s one lesson that we need to impress upon you before you sign your name on the dotted line, pay that first fee, and take that first step. It’s the single most important thing we’re going to ask of you, so you need to listen and understand it, now, before you say “yes.”

It’s the one most important thing that any fraternity can impress upon its new members. Truly, our survival as an organization depends on you understanding this one simple lesson and taking it to heart.

It’s more important than our history, our traditions, our structure, or our rules. Because, if you don’t understand this most fundamental lesson, then none of the other stuff will matter. If you don’t get this one “golden rule of masonry,” then your son and grandson won’t have this organization to join someday, and all of this will just be a fuzzy memory.

Here it is. Ready?

masonic apronFrom the moment you say yes to this organization, you are always wearing your badge.

I’m going to repeat it.

From the moment you say yes to this organization, you are always wearing your badge.

We’re not talking about t-shirts, or sweatshirts, or hats made with logos of the group. We’re not talking about a tattoo on your ankle, some party favor, or a badge you wear on your dress shirt.

What we mean is that when you say yes to lifetime membership in masonry, everything you say, do and represent from that moment forward is a direct reflection on this group, your brothers, and the thousands of members who have come before you. Everything you put out to the world is a direct reflection of this fraternity. Every decision, every achievement, every mistake you make happens to all of us from this point forward.

When you go to the grocery store, you represent us. When you drive down the road and slow down so a pedestrian can cross the street, you represent us.

When you become a leader, you represent us. When you insult someone or talk badly about another, you represent us. When you make decisions about how you behave, you represent us. When you go anywhere, you represent us.

When you go home and sit at your mother’s dining room table, you represent us. When you get a job and go to work for a company or organization, you represent us. When you commit your life to that special person, you represent us.

You are always wearing your badge

From this day forward, always. Every day, in every situation. it never comes off.

It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a jersey with our name on it, or a business suit at an interview. You have to assume that every person you meet will form a permanent opinion about masons – good or bad – based on how you interact with them. Every good thing you do builds us up. Every dumb thing you do tears us down.

We live in a time when the actions of one man can kill a group like ours. One person who acts in a way that is inconsistent with our shared values can end hundreds of years of tradition and pride. One bad choice you make can take away everything that generations of men have worked to build.

All the stuff you see that belongs to us can be boxed up or thrown out, because of the choices you make.

If this seems a little intense, that’s good. Because it’s serious. If it sounds like too much responsibility, or if you don’t think you can behave in a way that reflects well on us at all times, then walk away now. Do us the favor. We won’t think less of you. In fact, we’ll thank you. This sort of commitment isn’t for everybody.

But, don’t say yes unless you understand.

We’re not asking you to give up anything. We aren’t asking you to become something you aren’t. We’re asking you to become something more. We’re inviting you to become part of a group of men who make a promise to take care of each other, every day. We’re asking you to become the very best version of you that you can be.

It’s a big deal, and not everyone can do it. Forget everything you’ve heard up to this point. Forget how much you might desire this, or how much we might want to bring you into the group. Just clear your mind and ask yourself one question.

Are you ready to never take off the badge?

Because when you say yes, you’re not just putting a badge on a sweatshirt. You’re putting it in your heart. You’re forever stamping your identity with it. Everything you are, from this point on, becomes who we are.

You will make mistakes, and brothers will remind you of your commitment. There will be times where you will see other brothers forgetting their promise, and you’ll need to remind them. That’s part of this whole “Masonic” thing. We work together to make ourselves better men who stand for something. We carry each other. We matter to one another.

If we’re doing our Masonic duty right, then we’ll make you a better man. If you’re doing everything right, then you will make us a better organization.

So, please think about it. Take it seriously.

Because if you say yes, this badge belongs to you as surely as it belonged to our founders. If you say yes, this badge becomes your responsibility forever.

That’s the promise.

Brethren I think with this type of commitment we would retain more active membership.

Now a Professor began his class by holding up a glass with some water in it. He held it up for all to see & asked the students “How much do you think this glass weighs?”

’50gms!’….. ’100gms!’ …..’125gms’ …the students answered.

“I really don’t know unless I weigh it,” said the professor, “but, my question is:

What would happen if I held it up like this for a few minutes?…

‘Nothing’ …..the students said.

‘Ok what would happen if I held it up like this for an hour?’ the professor asked.

Your arm would begin to ache’ said one of the student

“You’re right, now what would happen if I held it for a day?”

“Your arm could go numb; you might have severe muscle stress & paralysis & have to go to hospital for sure!” Ventured another student & all the students laughed

“Very good. But during all this, did the weight of the glass change?” Asked the professor.

‘No’…. Was the answer. “Then what caused the arm ache & the muscle stress?”

The students were puzzled.

“What should I do now to come out of pain?” asked professor again. “Put the glass down!” said one of the students.

“Exactly!” said the professor. Life’s problems are something like this.

Hold it for a few minutes in your head & they seem OK. Think of them for a long time & they begin to ache. Hold it even longer & they begin to paralyze you. You will not be able to do anything.

It’s important to think of the challenges or problems in your life, But EVEN MORE IMPORTANT is to ‘PUT THEM DOWN’ at the end of every day before you go to sleep…

That way, you are not stressed, you wake up every day fresh &strong & can handle any issue, any challenge that comes your way!

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About Fred Milliken

Fred is a Past Master of Plymouth Lodge, Plymouth Massachusetts, and Past Master of Paul Revere Lodge, Brockton, Massachusetts. Presently, he is a member of Pride of Mt. Pisgah No. 135, Prince Hall Texas, where is he is also a Prince Hall Knight Templar . Fred is a Fellow of the Phylaxis Society and former Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.

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