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by Ed Halpaus
"Education in the past has been too much inspiration and too little information." E. Franklin Frazier
"One may receive the information, but miss the teaching." Jean Toomer
Our good Brother, Rashied K. Sharrieff-Al-Bey, gave me a comment a while back, when we were having an e-mail discussion on membership, which I thought was good: "We fail to attract [and retain] new members because we do not do what we say we do; we are not what we say we are." I can agree with what he meant because, there are some Lodges where the educating of new Masons on what Freemasonry is all about is precious little to not existing. In general new Masons, if they have an interest at all in learning the lessons Masonry has to pass on to its votaries, needs to seek out the information on their own; this is something that might be able to be done without being a member of a Lodge.
I was at a Masonic function, not all that long ago, where there were many, many new Master Masons; one of the speakers, after saying what a wonderful organization Freemasonry is, told these new Masons that Masonry will provide the questions but it will not provide the answers; 'those', he said, 'you', (the new Masons,) 'will need to find out for yourselves.'
I like better what Brother Philip Steel of the Grand Lodge of Michigan had to say regarding this topic. "Masonic Lodges must become places in which Masonic Education takes a man from the ritual to an understanding of the ideas of that ritual, and to the effect they should have on his daily life as a citizen of this nation and as a son of the author of all life." He also said; "To parrot-like repeat the words of the ritual is not enough - you must learn what Freemasonry means, for what it stands and what it means in our daily lives."
A Brother who was giving a talk at the Midwest Conference on Masonic Education back in 1992 said that in order for the Master of the Lodge to give the Brethren of his Lodge 'proper instruction' he must know more than the Craftsmen he is trying to instruct.' Well, I think I could disagree with his statement to a certain extent. While it would be nice if the Master of the Lodge, and the Wardens, Deacons and others who desire to go through the chairs to become Master were well versed in things Masonic, sometimes this just isn't the case; to me it just isn't that important because, the Master can employ others to do what he is unablei to do; [an important part of leadership] such as a Lodge Education Officer, or LEO for short. For a Lodge who has a LEO it is his job to assist the Master in providing good and wholesome instruction, and an effective Master will appoint a Lodge Education Officer ordering him to provide a Masonic Education Program at every stated communication, and to implement the Grand Lodge Mentor Program. The LEO does not have to do this strictly by himself; he can also enlist help from others who have an interest in contributing; who have some knowledge to pass on, and are willing to help.
Many a Mason came into our Lodges hoping that Masonry would have something to teach him that would benefit him in the future; something that would help him become the best man he was capable of being. Masonry does, and it is through the implementation of the Mentor Program, as well as good Masonic information and education in each stated communication of the Lodge, that Freemasonry provides the answers to the questions all Masons have as they journey through their Masonic life.
Freemasonry does provide the answers, but it takes dedicated Masons who are willing to be Mentors to help those of us who have questions. A Mentor will lead and point us in the proper direction for us to learn, and to enjoy our association with the Sons of Light: A Mentor will guide us in the right direction.
There is more to Masonic Work than just putting on a degree, and then expecting that the degree alone is sufficient to convey what Masonry is to the new Brother.
"Education must not simply teach work - it must teach life." Brother W.E.B. Du bois
From the Great light of Masonry = "Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning." Proverbs 9:9 NIV
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Last modified: March 22, 2014