One of the many lessons taught to us as Freemasons is that we should not bring anything into the Lodge room that would be considered offensive or defensive. Let’s face it, knowing that we’re all going to adhere to that policy makes for a much safer environment. Unfortunately, like so many other things about our fraternity, there’s another meaning that most don’t realize.
When you speak at Lodge, do you pay attention to the way you speak? Many of us do not realize that the language we’re using could be taken as offensive by others. When you speak, is it to the challenge or the concern before the Lodge, or is it, as I’ve often seen, more of an attack on the Brother who brought it up?
It’s important to understand that words and the language that you use can put others on edge. When that happens others will just shut down and the ability for the Lodge to function as a brotherhood is greatly diminished.
You also need to guard against being defensive. I know it’s easy to “get on the defensive” when your thoughts and ideas are challenged but we need to keep in mind that the criticism is directed at the idea, not yourself. This is by no means an easy task as it is often difficult for us to discern the difference and requires more than a little effort for us to subdue our passions and focus on the task at hand.
The other thing to be aware is that many often become defensive when criticism isn’t given properly. It’s important to provide the feedback in a manner that doesn’t belittle or degrade the Brother, remember, you may have made the same mistake yourself. Remember you want to be a mentor or guide and help the Brother learn and continue to learn – not leave because he was offended.
So please, think before you speak and remember to not bring anything offensive or defensive with you.