Thursday, April 12, 2007

Moving On From EA

So last night I was given the opportunity to show my proficiency and to move onto the degree of Fellow Craft. I felt more prepared than my reading the first time around, and took it upon myself to practice in my head the parts. During one of the question and answers sections, I must answer “Therefore so should they be situated”, which looks really easy but was a nightmare to keep straight in my head, I still don’t know if I wrote it down properly.

So we had fellowship, there is still tension in the lodge regarding the roof, which I don’t feel would be appropriate to discuss here. From fellowship I had to wait downstairs while the MMs take care of business. From there they closed the meeting and reopened in the EA, so I could prove my proficiency, I was moving along and doing great, next thing you know I drew a blank towards the end of the second part, I was so ready to be finished that I was already thinking of the third part, and lost my train of thought. After a couple of rough questions and answers, I was back to chugging along. They then voted, and accepted my proficiency (to much my amazement).

They then rushed me off to the anti-chamber to get ready. Brother Richard told me he was going to be the worshipful master, so that the previous forgetfulness was not to happen again. For some reason, that pride in the Craft made me happy. I went in the anti-chamber fully relaxed. The Senior Deacon was more nervous then myself during the ceremony. I tried so hard to pay attention to everything and while the similarities were there as from before this time, they were still some aspects significantly different.

After the ceremony, the brothers of course congratulated me and were very nice. The younger brothers (which most of them were for this degree) came up and told me how it is down hill from here, and what not. I really do look forward to learning the catechism, because I felt like I learned a lot from the last degree, the biggest lesson was of course that patience, in Masonry is a major factor in realizing all of the forms and beauties of Freemasonry.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Date Has Been Set!

It has been a while coming but it appears now that I will be receiving my Fellow Craft Degree on the 10th of April. I almost hesitate to write about it in fear that by writing about it, it won’t happen (you know, that old wives tale). I went to fellowship on Tuesday which was my first since I went on my four week hiatus. I was received with welcoming arms and realized that I really did miss the brothers and their jovial ways. I learned about the building (we are having a rough time getting our roof fixed), and in general was told that it is taking me entirely too long to move on to the next step.

While being an Entered Apprentice has it’s downfalls it also has its subtle benefits. One is that you being that of Entered Apprentice only are often looked over when senior members of the lodge are discussing issues, almost like you are too young to realize what they are talking about. During these discussions I came to reality check, that sometimes people, even Masons, don’t understand the difference between being a leader and being a manager.

See being a manager means you are in charge of a bunch of people, and they listen to you out of fear of losing their job, or some others only listen to you in attempts to further their own career. Being a leader means that people listen to you because they respect your opinion and feel that by following your direction, they are doing the right thing. See the difference? Being a manager @ McDonalds you have the potential for being a leader, but because it is easier and quicker people usually resort to being a manger (threatening people with adverse actions, making excuses, etc). Instead of inspiring work above and beyond you are rewarding people for being average, by staying out of trouble.

The greatest lesson I learned in the military was sometimes, as an officer, you are going to have leadership opportunities where you will be put in charge of people that are much older than yourself, and they have sometimes 20 years of experience vs. your handful. When put in that situation, you worry less about your boss and more about your subordinates. This individual can make or break you, and if you manage them, they will break you. In Masonry, as younger Masons we need to make sure that the old hats who have been doing this sometimes longer than we have been alive, that we don’t manage them, we lead. I think if we are effective leaders, and brothers, that the sometimes resentment between young and old can be subdued.

I don’t want to belabor the point too much, but I guess I wanted to write down something about my feelings in regards to leadership.

Funny, first I was writing about my FC degree date, next thing you know I am rambling about leadership.