Many years ago, Brother Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (Midwood Lodge No. 1062, Brooklyn, N.Y. and served as Grand Chaplain: 1949-51 Grand Lodge of New York), wrote a book entitled The Power of Positive Thinking: 10 Traits for Maximum Results. The book’s Amazon page describes this book as “An international bestseller with over five million copies in print, The Power of Positive Thinking has helped men and women around the world to achieve fulfillment in their lives through Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s powerful message of faith and inspiration.”
I have not read this book, but I should, and I may in the future. While reading the books description I realized how much of this book, much like the recent book ”It's Business Time: Adapting a Corporate Path for Freemasonry” by Brothers Robert Johnson and Jon Ruark adapted bestselling business and motivational books to running a successful Masonic lodge.
Amazons description of Brother Peale’s book, claims you will learn these skills:
· Believe in yourself and in everything you do
· Build new power and determination
· Develop the power to reach your goals
· Break the worry habit and achieve a relaxed life
· Improve your personal and professional relationships
· Assume control over your circumstances
· Be kind to yourself
I believe many of these can be concerted to the honorable and glorious purposes of fixing Masonry.
1. Believe in yourself and in everything you do
If you are a Freemason, hopefully you believe in the Craft and it’s teachings. You may, like many of us, be discouraged about Freemasonry’s current state, but I also hope you believe that if we continue to work and move forward we can put it back on a solid foundation
2. Build new power and determination
Each one of us who hold a current dues card has a voice and a vote on how we as an organization moves forward. Therefore, I am always saddened when I hear about a Brother who quits his lodge (and the Craft itself). Each one of us who is active in Freemasonry has a voice and a vote and if we stand together as a group we can eventually have the Fraternity we want. Each member we lose makes us weaker and will delay us in our ultimate goal. We need to stay involved and encourage each other to stay (or come back).
3. Develop the power to reach your goals
We as a group (Local lodge level, Grand Lodge level and nationally) need to know what we want the future of Freemasonry to look like and develop a plan in which we can implement as a group as we strive to meet our goals.
4. Break the worry habit and achieve a relaxed life
So many of us have raised our hands in frustration over the years when we are told we can’t change things in our lodges. I’m sure so many of you have heard, “We’ve never done it that way before” or “Grand Lodge won’t allow that” or “Please don’t do that out of the sake of harmony in the lodge”. So, we as a group have sunk back and quietly given up, and allowed what we know will drive members away to happen.
What we have forgotten is that we are playing the long game. We need to quit worrying and continue to try to make reforms. Eventually, they will happen. We are already beginning to see changes, so relax and remember the tortoise, not the hare.
5. Improve your personal and professional relationships
We must continue to strive to achieve our goals in Freemasonry and continue to make friends and “spread the cement” of Brotherly love. One of the things we strive to achieve in making ourselves better is not just in regards to education, but also making lifelong friendships along the way. Kind of like a “support group” when times get tough. We also need to continually interact, discuss and eventually agree on what we believe the future should look like. The more interactions and discussions we have is the only way we can put the designs upon the trestle board for the future.
6. Assume control over your circumstances
I think this point pretty much sums up everything I have written above. WE as a whole, as a group, need to discuss and plan for the future as we want it to be. We as a group or as the many separate jurisdictions in this country (or the world for that matter) won’t agree on every point, I mean we haven’t for three hundred years, but if we can begin to decide as a group what we want Freemasonry to look like we can be ready for the future when we can put our plans into practice.
Brother Peale lists one more point: “Be kind to yourself”, but for this paper I would like to replace this point with my own, which I feel is more important, “Don’t Quit”
Brother, I know we all get frustrated with the current state of affairs in our Fraternity. Cheap dues, crumbling buildings, boring meetings and in some cases mediocre meals have disappointed a lot of men who were originally excited to become Freemason. When they bring up ideas on how they can make the lodge better they are told to sit down and be quiet until they are Master of the Lodge. (They don’t tell them they will try to torpedo his ideas while he is Master anyway) After a while they begin to feel dejected or disappointed and slowly fade away.
Brother, please remember this. When we lose a member through suspension for non-payment of dues or through a demit we don’t just lose the chance for fellowship, we also lose one vote, one voice, one man who can help make a difference in bringing about the change we are looking for.
The old saying “United we stand, divided we fall” is true Brother. The more of us who stay in the quarries and work toward the future the faster we will be able to rebuild the temple.