The other night, we had some friends over to play D&D, and have some drinks. A couple of them have expressed interest in becoming Masons in the past, but have never really chosen to follow through. They have a lot of questions, as many folks that consider joining do. One of them asked me a question that I hadn’t ever really thought of before, no one had ever asked me it so directly. I was actually at a loss for words for a moment, and had to collect my thoughts. I’ve had some time to think on it now, and I’ve think I’ve come up with some pretty good answers to the question: “Why are you so involved with Masons even though you can’t become one?”
I appreciate and support the values and lessons taught, and see the results.
As most all of us know, Freemasonry is all about making good men better. And from what I have seen, they do exactly that. T has been Worshipful Master this year (so close to being done!), and I have seen improvement just over the last year. He has always been a good communicator, but as the year has progressed, I feel that he is better at anticipating both what he needs, and what he needs from me, and is not afraid or unwilling to let me know. He has always done pretty well with follow through (although he does subscribe to the better late than never theory), but is now more willing to take on more responsibilities, within Masonry, at work, and at home. We are still working on the time management bit though! My roommate Tom joined T’s Lodge this year, and has taken to Masonry like a duck to water. He too, has shown vast improvement in his attitudes at home and work.
The three core values of Freemasonry are Relief, Truth, and Brotherly love. This is really the backbone of Masonry. Relief:Masons are taught to give help to those in distress, and to give to charity. You can read more about relief and how it pertains to Freemasonry here. Truth: Masons are taught to not only be truthful when dealing with others, but also to be truthful to themselves. Masonry requires this of all its members to hold this moral as highly as possible in both their public and private lives. Brotherly Love:This does not only mean Brothers, but everyone. Masonry teaches that everyone deserves tolerance and respect for their opinions. They are also taught to act with compassion and understanding, especially when dealing with a fellow brother. Let’s think about these morals for a moment. Re-read them, and really think about what they mean. Aren’t these the values that everyone tries to uphold? Isn’t this what we mean when we say someone is a “good person”? Why would you not want to support an organization, that not only upholds, but also teaches and emphasizes the importance of these values?
It helps make the world a better place.
Millions of dollars are given to charities through Masonry every year. Seriously, millions. Each Grand Lodge has a charity or two that they fund. The Shrine has the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, and Scottish Rite has Rite Care, often, each Grand Worshipful Master (or equivalent) will pick a “project” charity or two that they want to help raise funds for. All of the women’s auxillaires donate money to charities, often different ones than the men, to help spread the giving around. This year, for my state, it was the Alzheimer’s association. The youth, as well have their own charities, although these are usually constant, like HIKE for Job’s Daughters. More than this, many states have their own children’s home and retirement homes that are run largely by donation. Our Scottish Rite runs a large ranch style facility for at risk youth. The running joke at Grand Lodge and other large conferences is that you never want to enter with cash in your pocket, because you won’t be leaving with it.
Anyone can give money though. It doesn’t take much time or effort. Masons, it seems, are never satisfied unless they go above and beyond. In addition to the money that they give, Freemasons and their affiliated groups also organize and run fundraisers for charities, put on other events for charity; the women at Grand Lodge hold a toy drive, the circus is a fundraiser for the hospitals; and also participate, and encourage others to participate in outside events put on by charities and other fundraisers, regardless if it is a Masonic charity or not. In addition to this, many groups also make hospital visits, see their ill members in their homes, provide scholarships and generally try to spread goodwill and that good old brotherly love around.
The opportunities it provides T, me, and my future family.
The list here is almost endless. The new people to meet, the places to go, the secrets to learn, the time to give, the knowledge to give and receive, the personal and public growth. The opportunities that Masonry provides T and I, and will provide for our future children is enormous. While it is usually frowned upon to mention that you are a member of a Lodge on a job resume, you can say that you are a member of a philanthropic organization. Many people would not know what DeMolay is, but many of my coworkers know that I volunteer and help run a group for young men. These opportunities should never be a sole reason for becoming a Mason, but I won’t lie to you, it is not without its benefits. We have met many people with Masonry that we would not have known otherwise, many of whom are willing to help us out in our public lives.
It gives me alone time.
Distance makes the heart grow fonder. This has been the biggest piece of advice that my mom has given to me concerning my relationship with T ; while my father is not a Mason, he does have a career that keeps him away from home. Mom is right. Not spending every minute of not work time with your SO causes you to cherish the time that you do get to spend together more. This is especially true when your schedule looks anything like ours- something going on almost every night of the week.
In addition to this, it gives me the alone time that I need, something that isn’t emphasized perhaps as much as it should be in this day and age. I am an introvert by nature, and need time away from other people to help recharge my batteries. I know not everyone is this way however. So, I also take the time that T is away at Lodge to do things for myself, a long bath, a nice dinner, watch that movie on Netflix I know he would never like. While T’s Lodge time is his time with the boys, it’s my me time.
It’s fun as hell.
As I’ve said before, even in this article, the Masonic calendar in our area is very busy, with something almost every night of the week. This also helps provide a “something for everyone” sort of atmosphere, which I am certain is one of the goals for Masonry. There are clubs and events for every taste, from a white tie ball, to having drinks in the bar with friends. Not only does Masonry provide us with opportunities to better ourselves, but it also provides a great time with wonderful people. Freemasonry is a ton of fun.
Just because I can’t be one, doesn’t mean I can’t be part of the Masonic family.
Can I be a Mason? No. Can I become a Daughter of the Nile, a member of OES, Order of the Amaranth, White Shrine of Jerusalem, Beauceant, youth advisor and more? Hell yes. Just because you aren’t one of the guys doesn’t stop you from being able to join the Masonic family. Even if you choose not to join formally, you can still be a part of it by supporting your Mason in any way you feel comfortable. Go to events, meet new people, have a good time. It can be very daunting and intimidating at first, but I guarantee you they are some of the most genuinely nice people out there who only want to see your family succeed.
Support your Mason. Without your support, your rough ashlar will never become perfect.