As I sat down last night and went through our Lodge Excellence Award year to date data, I noticed that we (I) have been a little negligent in our Masonic Education programs. Some of this is due to the many conversations regarding Degree work and social outings in our meetings, which are also extremely important to the Fraternity. To supplement our Masonic Education, I will endeavor to send out a little philosophy from the many papers and such that are at our disposal. This one is reprinted from 1882 and is properly titled "Advice to Young Men". I hope you enjoy it (them in the future). If you are so inclined you can just delete the e-mail when you receive it from me, but as Master of your Lodge, it is my hope that you glean the messages from them, as they are as relevant today as yesterday. Enjoy.
Advice to Young Men
Every young man ought to belong to some first-class fraternal organization. In no way can he gain so many substantial advantages, mentally, morally and financially, at so small a cost of time or money as by forming such a connection. The teachings he will receive in the lodge room are of a high and ennobling character. It is line upon line, precept upon precept; and not only this, but he will see numberless instances of the practical application of the lessons taught. Men naturally love to see a noble act well performed, and love to feel, in its performance, they have had something to do. Human nature is not altogether bad. It is safe that 999 out of 1,000 would prefer to do a good act rather than a bad one, all other things being equal. But all men abhor hypocrisy, and moral lessons supplemented by immoral practices bear the sure fruits of iniquity. If there is any class of organizations under the sun that practice what they preach, it is fraternal societies. It is almost impossible for a young man to grow up surrounded by fraternal influences without becoming a better man because of the fact.
The lodge room is a good school. It teaches how to conduct debates, the value of discipline, the strength of combined numbers, social customs, mutual dependence, and the necessity of promptitude and fidelity in the discharge of every duty. Moreover, it accustoms one to public addresses and ceremonials, and if a person is so inclined, it affords the best possible means to acquire the art of oratory. Thousands of our best speakers today got their first and most valuable lessons in the lodge room.
The benefit one gets, financially, by lodge membership, is usually of an indirect character, rather than otherwise. It does not come in the way of wages, or contributions for his individual benefit, unless perchance, to guard him or his against actual want; but it comes in the way of a wide and valuable acquaintance that afford him an opportunity to help himself, when otherwise he might be a stranger in a strange land. It gives him the advantage of confidence when else there would be distrust. A good name is better than gold or precious stone, but a good name is only valuable where its possessor is known.
- Source: Pacific States Watchman
- Reprinted in The Canadian Craftsman, Oct. 15, 1882