“Be sure to include education in every meeting.”
“Push the business part of the meeting to the end, focus on education.”
I’m sure many of you have heard something similar to the above statements. It’s the result of the what many Freemasons say is needed in our fraternity – masonic education.
Unfortunately, from where I frequently sit, we’re talking the talk but not walking the walk.
.I know that there are many out there who are trying to change things. We bring forward topics, we have conversations with those who will listen, and we recommend reading materials. We’re working to improve things.
It starts out well enough, there’s a few presentations, maybe someone shares something they’ve read. Then there’s the numerous ‘education pieces’ about procedure and process, and any number of protocol related items. Finally, there are too many business items so education is skipped one meeting. Which turns into two meetings, then three, and then we’re right back to square one.
The issue doesn’t stem from a lack of desire on the part of numerous Masons to bring education and further light to their brethren, it comes from a cultural stance that has been in place for decades which also permeates from our corporate culture.
A business meeting is a business meeting – if you want education you go to class.
Therein lies the problem, many Lodges today meet for two apparent reasons, to conduct business or to conduct degree work, neither of which, in the minds of many, are times for education. For decades we’ve met with the knowledge of what is to occur at those meetings and simple saying ‘change it,’ won’t cause it to change, you need to shift the mindset involved.
I’m not suggesting that we abandon our efforts to bring education to our meetings, in fact far from it. I think we need to continue the effort to infuse an education component any chance we get, but I would also suggest taking a slightly different tact as well.
Offer to start a study group. That’s right, a study group. A chance for education to be the center point of the gathering without all the overhead of a regular meeting. Pick a topic, a book, or a piece of ritual and discuss it, share your thoughts and encourage others to do the same. As more become interested the group will likely begin to grow and with a little luck, the discussions will spill over into your other meetings.
A single acorn can grow into a mighty tree, which in turn can bring about a forest. We just have to nurture it.