We were excited to offer a live stream video from the public portion of the 2017 Annual Communication for the Grand Lodge of Washington. Enjoy it again here…
By VW Brother David Colbeth
If you ask 100 Masons what is their definition of a Long Range Plan, you’ll probably get 100 different answers. There is no one right way to do something. However, we can all agree on a direction or vision of what we’d like things to look like in the future. How can we see the future? Because we absolutely know what we DON’T like about the past. By changing what we don’t like, will help us understand what we DO want for the future of this Fraternity.
Before you can begin to plan, you have to know why you are doing it. The Grand Lodge of Washington has already developed a strong Mission Statement/Purpose which reads: Freemasons of Washington will be recognized as a relevant and respected Fraternity, committed to attracting and retaining all men of high quality who strive for self improvement and the opportunity to make a positive difference in their community.
Would you agree that is a good, strong Mission? I would say it is and submit that our current form of the Long Range Plan is a further descriptor or extension of our Mission statement, or a Vision Statement if you will.
I’ve been asked on several occasions, “How are we going to hold the Grand Lodge accountable to fulfill this Mission and a Long Range Vision?” Haven’t we all taken an obligation to ourselves and to each other? If we can’t fulfill our obligations to each other then why are we part of this Fraternity?
While this Long Range Planning initiative is designed for the Grand Lodge of Washington and all of it’s Committee Chairman & Committeemen to fulfill, the concepts of creating a Plan or Vision for our Lodges are absolutely applicable.
You might know of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the secondary or higher level needs. Maslow also coined the term “metamotivation” to describe the motivation of people who go beyond the scope of the basic needs and strive for constant betterment.
The human brain is a complex system and has parallel processes running at the same time, thus many different motivations from various levels of Maslow’s hierarchy can occur at the same time. Maslow spoke clearly about these levels and their satisfaction in terms such as “relative”, “general”, and “primarily”.
Instead of stating that the individual focuses on a certain need at any given time, Maslow stated that a certain need “dominates” the human organism. Thus Maslow acknowledged the likelihood that the different levels of motivation could occur at any time in the human mind, but he focused on identifying the basic types of motivation and the order in which they should be met.
Physiological needs are the physical requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met, the human body cannot function properly and will ultimately fail. Physiological needs are thought to be the most important; they should be met first.
Air, water, and food are metabolic requirements for survival in all animals, including humans. Clothing and shelter provide necessary protection from the elements.
Once a person’s physiological needs are relatively satisfied, their safety needs take precedence and dominate behavior. In the absence of physical safety – due to war, natural disaster, family violence, childhood abuse, etc. – people may (re-)experience post-traumatic stress disorder or transgenerational trauma. In the absence of economic safety – due to economic crisis and lack of work opportunities – these safety needs manifest themselves in ways such as a preference for job security, grievance procedures for protecting the individual from unilateral authority, savings accounts, insurance policies, disability accommodations, etc. This level is more likely to be found in children as they generally have a greater need to feel safe.
Safety and Security needs include: Personal security, Financial security, Health and well-being and a Safety net against accidents/illness and their adverse impacts
After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third level of human needs is interpersonal and involves feelings of belongingness. This need is especially strong in childhood and it can override the need for safety as witnessed in children who cling to abusive parents. Deficiencies within this level of Maslow’s hierarchy – due to hospitalism, neglect, shunning, ostracism, etc. – can adversely affect the individual’s ability to form and maintain emotionally significant relationships in general, such as: Friendships, Intimacy, and Family.
According to Maslow, humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among their social groups, regardless whether these groups are large or small. For example, some large social groups may include clubs, co-workers, religious groups, professional organizations, sports teams, and gangs. Some examples of small social connections include family members, intimate partners, mentors, colleagues, and confidants. Humans need to love and be loved – both sexually and non-sexually – by others. Many people become susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety, and clinical depression in the absence of this love or belonging element. This need for belonging may overcome the physiological and security needs, depending on the strength of the peer pressure.
All humans have a need to feel respected; this includes the need to have self-esteem and self-respect. Esteem presents the typical human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People often engage in a profession or hobby to gain recognition. These activities give the person a sense of contribution or value. Low self-esteem or an inferiority complex may result from imbalances during this level in the hierarchy. People with low self-esteem often need respect from others; they may feel the need to seek fame or glory. However, fame or glory will not help the person to build their self-esteem until they accept who they are internally. Psychological imbalances such as depression can hinder the person from obtaining a higher level of self-esteem or self-respect.
Most people have a need for stable self-respect and self-esteem. Maslow noted two versions of esteem needs: a “lower” version and a “higher” version. The “lower” version of esteem is the need for respect from others. This may include a need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention. The “higher” version manifests itself as the need for self-respect. For example, the person may have a need for strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence, and freedom. This “higher” version takes precedence over the “lower” version because it relies on an inner competence established through experience. Deprivation of these needs may lead to an inferiority complex, weakness, and helplessness.
Maslow states that while he originally thought the needs of humans had strict guidelines, the “hierarchies are interrelated rather than sharply separated”. This means that esteem and the subsequent levels are not strictly separated; instead, the levels are closely related.
“What a man can be, he must be.” This quotation forms the basis of the perceived need for self-actualization. This level of need refers to what a person’s full potential is and the realization of that potential. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. Individuals may perceive or focus on this need very specifically. For example, one individual may have the strong desire to become an ideal parent. In another, the desire may be expressed athletically. For others, it may be expressed in paintings, pictures, or inventions. As previously mentioned, Maslow believed that to understand this level of need, the person must not only achieve the previous needs, but master them.
After reading all of this great information about how the Human Mind works, you are probably asking, “What does this have to do with Long Range Planning?” What if we applied the concepts of Human Needs to our Lodges and Masonic practices? It might look something like this:
1. The most basic need of human existence is physiological/biological needs; air, food, drink, shelter, sleep. If we try to line up the most basic need of the Masonic experience, what would that be? Why do we exist as Masons, as a Chartered Lodge? Isn’t it to make Masons?
If we didn’t want to make new Masons, why would we need to have Charters and Lodges and a Grand Lodge to oversee our work? We wouldn’t!
Because we want to be able to make new Masons under a Chartered Lodge, then we must first obtain a Charter. What does it take to receive a Charter? We can turn to the Washington Masonic Code for the easily defined answer. The requirements of a Lodge to receive their Charter:
You need a place to meet, no debt, By-Laws, 15 members and “…proof of its members’ skill and ability to perform the work, including the conferring of the Three Degrees”. That’s it!
Yet how many of our Lodges today could perform the work, including the conferring of all Three Degrees, with all parts covered by the CURRENT members of our Lodge? This is the basic need.
2. Once we can make new Masons, then we can consider the next level of development. Safety needs; security, law & order, stability as Maslow suggests. How does this translate to Masonry?
What experience are the Members having when the first ask, then go through the Degrees and more especially after the Degrees are finished is there more for these newly minted Men to embrace? This is where the Membership Experience element becomes critical; Engage and retain members and their families through an enhanced, sustaining, and relevant membership experience.
3. If our Members are enjoying a quality Membership Experience, then naturally the next step is to develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their Lodge Brethren. This relates to Maslow’s element of Love & Belonging; friendship, trust & acceptance, affiliation, part of a group. We can enhance this through Masonic education; Educate members and communities about the fraternity’s intriguing and enduring history, values, practical application of our principles, and relevance to society today.
4. Once our Members are educated, what is the next logical step? Maslow suggests that it is Esteem needs; independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect from others. Our Lodge officer experience is perfectly suited for this element. But what if a man does not want to be an officer? That man can be provided with other opportunities to show his leadership abilities through mentoring, giving training sessions, and outreach to the Community. This would certainly satisfy the LRP plan element of Leadership & Management; Strengthen our leaders and cultivate new ones; strengthen management and governance effectiveness at all levels.
5. While we spend a lifetime developing ourselves and hoping to attain that perfect ashler status, it alludes us until the GAOTU calls us home. While we are still here on Earth, Maslow suggests that Self actualization is our next highest ability; self-fulfillment, personal growth, achievement, mastery. Again our Fraternity provides many interesting opportunities to fulfill this Human need.
The LRP provides at least 2 elements that can help in this area including Beyond the Lodge; Instill a wider Masonic perspective, inside and outside the fraternity, by deepening the connection between members, lodges, the worldwide body of Freemasonry, concordant organizations, and the Public at large. And, through Philanthropy; Focus our philanthropic efforts through Washington Masonic Charities.
You will be voting to implement the Long Range Plan at the next Annual Communication. This plan is for the future. In the words our Grand Master, “while the words have been written today, the song will be sung after his term has concluded”.
One of the stumbling blocks of Long Range Plans in the past is that successive Elected Grand Lodge officers have not supported the Plan. I can assure you, your Deputy GM has agreed to support this Plan. Your Sr. Grand Warden has agreed to support this Plan. Your Jr. Grand Warden has agreed to support this Plan and all 3 Candidates for the Grand South have agreed to support the future of this Long Range Plan. Please take time to familiarize yourself with the current Plan or Vision statement as it is currently written. http://6supports.weebly.com
VW David W. Colbeth, Chairman
Long Range Planning Committee & Task Force on Long Range Planning
Featured photo source: Pixabay.com
By WB Mike Priddy
Writers go through periods when the muse is simply silent, and the words do not come. Last year, during the last weeks leading up to the presidential election, I began to feel my voice diminish until it finally fell silent. Only in the last few days has it returned, and so here I am.
As Masons we share many traits but principally the compulsion to become better men. What makes our fraternity so great is that this simple idea expresses itself through so many different personalities. Each personality presents unique challenges to the desire to improve, like different stones present different challenges to the mason as they are worked into perfect ashlars.
During these fallow months I, being an introvert, have explored the landscape of my own personality as if instinctively knowing that I needed to reconnect with something deeply personal before my muse would return. That instinct was, or rather is, correct.
During the furor of the election I felt repulsed by the political conversation. It was angry, base, and worst, for me, of lacking depth. One of the things I found, for myself, is that I am only interested in depth, truth, and meaning. I’m a scientist who rejects the materialism of science and a spiritual person who rejects the blind faith of religion as taught by man. Science can be cold and inhuman without spirit, and religion can be divisive and cruel with out compassion. I crave depth and multiple dimensions in my truths. For me these deep truths are the foundations of a Mason’s “internal castle”, to quote Theresa of Avilla. She saw spiritual advancement as an exploration of an internal castle, and the layers of your soul as a series of concentric walls that surround your true self, your divine spark. To take the analogy farther if the foundation is not true, the castle will fall, no matter how well it’s built. Conversely a modest castle built on a strong foundation might stand for centuries.
So, we are all adults. Our castles are at least partially built. That does not mean we are done with our foundation work. Freemasons have always stood against the forces that would erode or society and we have often been the vanguard of progress. I like to imagine us as a line of defensive castles on the frontier of society, providing a solid defense against the darkness and a forward position from which to launch assaults into that darkness. That said; if we as men are going to take our position on the front line we need to ensure our foundations are strong. We must, from time to time, venture in to the deepest basements of our personality and look for flaws and cracks, in a word weakness.
While this particular approach might be uniquely suited for an introverted man like myself, I think it has value for everyone. Just as I find value in sharing my thoughts with others, and thereby testing them, I think the extraverted brother might find value in taking the time to look within, at those core beliefs and traits that identify us as unique individuals. Look beyond the stories other people have written for you, beyond the chips and cracks that life has made in your foundation and see who you are at your core. These journeys into the hidden parts of our personality can be daunting, but as a Freemason you are fortunate, you are not alone in the journey. You have brethren who have made the journey and can act as guides. Our Craft in all its manifestations, Blue Lodge, Scottish Rite, or York Rite, all offer maps for this journey. In fact the fundamental nature of all the degree systems is this internal journey in search of universal truth and enlightenment. The pattern is a type of solar cycle, as the sun descends into darkness to be reborn each day, so you as a Mason are called to travel into the darkness in search of the Light.
So for me, this time, my muse led me into the dark. She waited until I was deep in the basement of my soul before she spoke. There in the dark she showed me my silence was not inactivity, but rather a time alchemical transformation, digesting my experience of a troubled time into an insight into my own spirit. She was never absent she was just waiting for me in the dark, so that she might guide me to the Light.
Click HERE to access a playlist of all questions and answers for the 2017 Junior Grand Wardens Candidates Forum, hosted by Daylight Lodge No. 232.
Several brethren, myself included, have received an inflammatory email entitled “Masonic request” from a “MWB Malcolm Bronson”. I asked WB Danny Done to check it out, and he was able to do a reverse search on the IP and obtain a lot of info as to the sender. Please be aware that there is no “MWB Malcolm Bronson” and that the email is to be deleted.
Jim Mendoza –
Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Washington
All of us know the importance of civility in our interactions and conversations with our brothers. We have been famously counseled in regard to the discussion of politics and religion among brothers at masonic activities in order to prevent ill will or hurt feelings. We need no reminders that we are to respect one another, and keep our tongue when our words would do more harm than good. These are all just common sense and we all have those unfortunate memories in our minds when that line of courtesy and politeness gets crossed and damage to the craft and individuals results sometimes with unintended consequences.
Certainly our parents, teachers, and society in general spend time teaching us throughout our lives why we need to be kind, courteous and attentive in regard to our communications with one another and provide us a framework of family values and rules. Our workplace has a Human Resource department for these matters, our churches have theological tenets, our schools teach social behaviors to follow such as sportsmanship and our community leaders create civil laws to make certain that we treat one another respectably, regardless of age, creed, color, gender, special needs, etc. So why is this of particular concern to the mason if it’s already being handled? Why it is that “civility” takes a unique role in our masonic world when it seems to be a part of everyone else’s concerns?
As initiates and as brothers, each of us has been set apart and additional expectations have been placed on us both between one another and our sphere of influence to every human being through our masonic obligation that we agreed to when we stood before our great common alter. Our masonic life lived should stand out as man’s ability to love one another regardless of the differences we may have and it is in the ability to find civil agreement between those differences around our alter that causes our unique example to shine through and above the rest. The world needs an example of what it is to work together without tyranny or oppression. To show by our example, how we can disagree and yet remain not only tolerant but affectionate towards one another.
Anyone with a television, radio or newspaper knows that civility in our nation is being challenged. The rules established in many of the categories mentioned have broken down. The divorce rate is up, violence plagues our schools, dogma attacks one another’s sacred beliefs openly, even violently and we all know what has happened to a government divided by opposing values who appears as though it has lost its ability to work with civility at all causing gridlock and then fanned by the news media who thrive on conflict, we are bathed in examples of discord, anger, hostility, and fear. As never before, masonry’s example of civil discipline is needed and its great message of working together civilly is the answer that society needs now above all other examples.
Having said all of this, it is an important reminder that we have been set apart for this great work of creating a perfect society, a temple built without hands and that through our example, we will lead the world to its golden potential. We must examine ourselves in this day of Twitter, Facebook, email and text and be conscious of the fact that not only the words we share mouth to ear need to be filtered through our grand obligation but that every hashtag, Facebook post, email forward, or text associated with us requires our attention and scrutiny. When we wear the square and compass as a part of our identity we take on a larger persona than just that of our own personal opinion. We represent a philosophic empire that spreads across the globe. Each of us are obliged to one another and to the craft that we represent to communicate with respect, the highest degree of integrity, and the deepest concern for the feelings and welfare of others.
Certainly each brother is welcome to his own personal opinions and sharing those publically and clearly is the right of every free man but the manner in which the opinion is expressed is where civility needs to be checked. We must ask, are we being reasonable, kind, intelligent and beneficial? Are we allowing comedy, sensationalism, or cleverness to supplant our concerns not to be divisive, cruel, or mean spirited? Are we more concerned about respect for our personal views than we are about the views of others?
Masonry is an ancient a beautiful craft whose higher standards have the opportunity through each of our mindful efforts to be the guiding example in our social media world that is in great need of our philosophic teachings and inclusiveness, especially today when even our leaders have not been the examples of civility we would like. It makes it ever more important to be the higher example to others that masonry calls us to be and is something we can do every day to create the world we all know we all want and need and as masons, have been charged to create. Let’s all pause and examine how we express our opinions in the maelstrom of social media and ensure our rhetoric is something we are all proud of for our craft and others to imitate.
May the Great Architect give us wisdom and strength to be the light and example for others to follow.
W. B. John Lawson
Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Washington
Featured photo source: Flickr.com