If You Truly Want To Walk On Water, You Have To Get Out Of The Boat

“If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.”

I was watching a video by Dennis Prager on happiness recently when it suddenly came to me that this had much significance for my Freemasonry and what the Craft meant to me. Now you might not see any Masonic connection with the video included here. One of the reasons is that we all join Freemasonry for different reasons and we all participate in the aspect of Freemasonry that speaks loudest to us.

Some of us use Freemasonry to network. The connections you make within the Fraternity can do wonders for your business.

Some of us enjoy the camaraderie of Freemasonry and that is what we get out of the Craft. Being close to a circle of buddies is important to human beings who are by nature social animals. It is especially important to those who do not make friends in their other walks of life.

Some of us want to give back to society, to leave something behind that contributed to the well being of humankind. We take part in some of the many charitable works of Freemasonry and the institutions Freemasonry has set up to make life better.

Some of us are seekers of a moral way of life outside of organized religion. The virtues of Freemasonry fill a need for those of us who seek to lead a noble life, to lift our spirits into the next realm and who want to do it here, right now.

Some of us are intrigued by the esoteric side of Freemasonry and desire to pursue Hermetic and Gnostic study. We see a connection from the ancient mysteries of Egypt, Israel, Greece and Rome right up into our present time. This knowledge, we believe, will show us a path to a greater way of life.

Many of us pursue more than one of these sides of Freemasonry; many of us only one. It is true that Freemasonry is a way of life, but that way of life may be different to different Freemasons. The overriding factor that ties all these factors together is our desire to take control of our lives and make a difference – to other people but even more so to ourselves.

That’s what Dennis Prager is trying to do. He is purposefully trying to change his behavior for the better. He sees a moral obligation to be the best person he can be. Does that not sound like Freemasonry? Do we as Masons not see a moral obligation to be a better person? Is it not possible that many who have joined Freemasonry have made a conscious step to be a better person by joining with others who have the same goals? This becomes not a mutual admiration society but a mutual self improvement society. Dennis Prager is doing it all by himself but we as Freemasons are doing it together in a group.

So let me pause here to add two rules of thumb that have guided me in this quest to take control of my life and point it in the right direction.

1) We all need a cheering section in our lives, a group of people who will shore us up in our time of need and encourage us to be the best we can be. We do not need people who bring us down.

Gregory Scott Reid put it this way:

“A few years back, I looked around and noticed that all I did was hang around with other salespeople such as myself. Realizing that I wanted more from my life than to simply sit around talking about the great deal or the money I’d made that day, I sought out a new group of people to associate myself with—people who could help me on my new journey to become an author and motivational speaker. I ran ads on the Internet and in the newspaper seeking new people to associate with and “soak up the success” with, so to speak.”

“When I couldn’t find such a club, I decided to create one of my own. I called it the Influential Men’s Group. We met once a month and discussed our ideas and plans to make them become realities. Most important, we supported and held one other accountable to see those dreams come true.”

“As I write this now, I think to myself how grateful I am for all the wonderful people who’ve come into my life this past year. Due to this great group of people, I’ve gone from a business owner/salesman, to a number one best-selling author.”

“We are the company we keep. Choose your company wisely.”

Freemasonry is not only a way of life it is a family and as one big family there are always family members there to help you through the rough times and to bolster your spirit.

That’s why:

2) We are who we associate with

When you run with the wrong group you start to pick up their ways. When you run with the right group their righteousness rubs off on you.

Colin Powell offers these words of advice:

“The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.”

Consider this:

“Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.”

“With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights. ‘A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.’”

“The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate – for the good and the bad.”

So I, as a Freemason, consciously sought out the Masonic Fraternity to help me with the ups and downs of life and to bond with others who are on the same path, knowing that I have surrounded myself with people of good will and a genuine interest in my well being. For me that was a good enough reason to join the Craft. And my life has been the better for it, because like Dennis Prager I have tried to modify my behavior for the better, only I am not doing it alone. I am doing it with my Brothers and Sisters who are my family and who love me as if I was blood.

We leave the last word to Steven Conn:

“Often times I look at people and see so much potential. I see the people they surround them selves with and look at what they do with their spare time and am saddened by the reality of the potential waiting to burst out, but yet will never come.”

“Who we are now is based on past experiences and decisions that we have made and the influence we have received from others, but we can’t dwell on the past if we want to accomplish great things. Sometimes we need to make tough choices and make some changes in the friendships we have. At least we have to rethink who we are getting advice from.”

“If we are going to make a change in our life, it requires effort and surrounding ourselves with new people of influence. Find someone that has changed for the positive in any area and they will tell you that someone helped them through it all, that without that person they would have failed miserably. Look around at the people you associate with. Are they constantly learning and researching new ideas, expanding their minds and keeping up with new technology. Are they looking to have a positive impact on the people around them or are they filled with unending sarcasm and belittling of anyone that tries to change or make a difference.”

“Are you hanging around with people that think change is too hard and things will never get better, or are you surrounding yourself with people that have eyes of a child and think anything is possible.”

“It takes faith to believe in what we cannot see. Have faith and seek out people that are looking to make a difference and you will be amazed at how you too, will accomplish what you want.”

“I believe that if you truly want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.”


Howie Damron’s Holiday Message

This time of year, Christmas for Christians, Chanukah for Jews and Ramadan & Eid-El-Fitr for Muslims, is a joyous time of year where peace and harmony and good will to men and women hold court. It reminds me of the every day life of a Mason. This soul filling feeling of great peace and the universality of the human race in harmony is the message that Freemasons live every day of the week.

But joy is not everywhere.  There is also an increase in loneliness, despair and depression at this time of year. Many lives are not going well and some souls seem to be losing the struggle.  But all is not lost.  Where there is faith there is hope and where there is hope there can be rejuvenation. Such is the message that Howie Damron, singer and song writer, would like to leave with us this season.

It is with great humility that I address each of you about this matter. I spend most all my time in Motivation through my music about Freemasonry. Teaching our youth about how understanding our Brotherhood can help them from choosing the wrong path in life. The Wisdom within Freemasonry is Motivational and the accountability is priceless.  My Passion has turned into a Mission for many reasons but one is in constant mind at all times.

My oldest son “Little Howie” is and has been an Addict for many years. It has been a life that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. His story is one that would chill you to the bone. Drugs has cost him everything and almost his life more than once. It destroyed our family but somehow God raised us back up many times.

Over the many years we tried everything. It is an awful feeling watching your child slowly dying and you feel hopeless to stop it. My wife and I have felt every emotion there is to feel and honestly we had given up. He was involved in a horrible accident in my new truck that no one understands how he lived through it. There’s almost nothing that anyone is going through that Kim and I didn’t go through all these years. He was In numerous rehab centers and then after a very short time he relapsed. It appeared that nothing would work for the 27 year old.

Now we have our son back. It’s been almost four months and he loves it so much that he’s dedicated to Graduate which takes a full year. That’s not all. He informed me that he was going to open his own center up next year. He found the answer and by the Grace of God himself so did we. We have received the greatest Christmas Present that any parent could ever ask for.  It’s a program unlike anything he or us ever witnessed. It teaches self discipline that is beyond all understanding.

There is hope my friends. Howie JR is Living proof of it.

If you’ve never been affected by addiction or someone in your family hasn’t been then first off you need to bow your heads and give thanks. If you are in need of help then contact me. I will start dedicating my time now to the Ohio Grand Lodge program that’s dedicated to reaching out for help. It is the Masonic Model program and it’s needed now more than ever.

Addiction is an illness that’s not understood easily but I do give you my word there is an answer.

Many times I and many other Masons have indicated that Masonry is a way of life and that Masonry makes good men better.  What does that mean?  It seems so nebulous and often repeated it becomes a trite phrase.  How do we make good men better?  How can we say Masonry is a way of life, virtues to be lived?

In reality it is not what we do in the Lodge room that affects a Mason’s life so.  It is the teachings we carry outside the tyled Lodge into our every day world, a world that is often fractured and broken.  Here we must live, here we must survive. And the choices we make, the path we take is often for a Mason, ones that he or she makes with a much broader understanding of the consequences these decisions will have.

In what manner is Masonry a way of life?  Howie Damron will tell you:

As a Nashville entertainer over the many years I’ve witnessed drugs being abused often. As a matter of fact I’ve witnessed its use going from seldom to constant. It seems that 3 out of 5 families are seeing the epidemic and it’s still growing. Before I went on the road back in 1990 as a traveling entertainer, my Dad introduced me to something that did save my life and that’s Freemasonry. He had been a Mason for some time. He became my road manager and we visited Lodges all across America in every town I was performing in for a very special reason. Accountability. Although I saw and was surrounded by horrible drugs I never touched even one. Many of my band members over the years overdosed and died. I spend my time introducing Freemasonry because of these facts. Many times I’ve almost made major mistakes that could have taken my life but it would always come back to my mind how I knelt at an alter and kissed the Holy Bible.

I will start dedicating my time now to the Ohio Grand Lodge program that’s dedicated to reaching out for help. It is the Masonic Model program and its needed now more than ever.

May you take this message in the holiday season of your faith and transform your life, making good choices and at crossroads selecting the right path.  And may the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all Masons and non Masons everywhere, may brotherly love prevail and every moral and social virtue cement us.


From the Editor – This is a very important program, the Masonic Model Student Assistance Program, which  is a gift from the Freemasons of Ohio to the schools in their communities.

Why is it so important?  Because every day:

  • 110 teenagers attempt suicide
  • 20 teenagers kill themselves
  • 202 children are arrested for drug offenses
  • 340 children are arrested for drinking or drunken driving
  • 1,115 teenagers have abortions
  • 1,225 teenagers drop out of school
  • 1,234 children run away from home
  • 2,860 children see their parents divorce
  • 5,700 teenagers are victims of violent crime
  • 7,945 children are abused or neglected

The program consists of a three-day intensive training seminar that enables core teams of faculty and staff members to effectively identify and refer at-risk youth.The professional trainers, manuals, overnight accommodations, and meals are all provided at no cost to participants.

The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio offers an average of 3 training sessions per school year.