When the average Mason hears the term “lodge education,” he immediately thinks about the short presentation his lodge education officer makes at a stated meeting. This is lodge education, but only a very small piece of what should be included in overall organizational learning.
An organizational education program serves a vehicle to further the guiding principles and ideals of the group. It educates its members so that they properly practice and demonstrate the values of the organization and strive, in an educated and organized manner, to carry out the organization’s purpose of achieving its vision.
The education program of a lodge should be producing knowledge to build the capacity for purposeful action to accomplish the lodge goals and moving the lodge in a measurable manner toward its vision.
So, if the purpose of organizational education is to produce meaningful knowledge to create action, then, a random, short presentation at a lodge meeting isn’t enough.
The basic elements of an integrated education program for a Masonic lodge should provide for the following:
- Lodge members gain a basic understanding of the history and meaning of Masonry.
- Lodge members gain an understanding of the beliefs, values, and lessons imparted by Masonry.
- Lodge members are taught a method for personal growth and mastery using the lessons of Masonry.
- The Brothers gain an understanding of the mission and vision of the lodge and where they may use their talents to contribute.
- A defined process for the acceptance, initiation, assimilation, and education of all candidates.
- An ongoing forum for the Brothers to exchange ideas, experience, and knowledge.
- A system of continual evaluation and improvement of the program.
Each of these elements requires a great deal of thought, understanding, and a large amount of hard work. Also, they may require, a very radical change in the lodge’s current culture.
I once was talking with a Past Master of a lodge who was complaining that someone at his lodge had proposed a more extensive education program. His comment to me was, “Masonry is not about education.” I knew there was nothing to be gained by disagreeing with him, so I remained silent.
Masonry is an educational process. Our job, as a Masonic Lodge, is to provide an atmosphere and a well thought out process for each man to learn and practice Masonry. A well-prepared presentation at the lodge is a start, but should not be where your lodge’s education efforts end.