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.
Not to nit-pick, but I would add Masonic Law from your jurisdiction as well. I am often surprised at how little Lodge operations and the Masonic laws governing them are not taught either.
Not nit-picking at all. There should be a program of officer and member leadership education that would include Masonic law.
I agree. There is not enough education. I was a District Education Officer year back in the late 80’s. During my 3 years I wrote and sent a monthly newsletter for the lodge education officers. I gave them a program for meetings but I also recommending other interesting readings. It worked for a lot of the 22 lodges but some education officers ignored it. I believe I did do some good for those who followed up on it. There is so much to be learned about our Masonry. I followed up on promoting education when I served as district deputy.
Thanks Brother Roach for your efforts in promoting Masonic education.
Thanks for this…It’s a really important aspect of our work and certainly not one that should be glossed over.
I was delighted recently to hear that a Lodge in West Virginia have started giving a copy of my book, ‘Level Steps’ to all newly raised Master Masons as part of their continuing education programme. Apparently they are encourage to spend some time in quiet contemplation whenever they can… This is how the education officer of that Lodge describes it…;
“Level Steps has been a great success in our Lodge. Following a Brother being raised to the Sublime Degree, we present a copy to the new Master Mason. As a part of the presentation I remind our new brother that they should set aside a “quiet time” as often as possible to contemplate their new role as a Master Mason. The Idea is to let the mind wander on an aspect Freemasonry; I suggest they read a passage from Level Steps if they have problems getting their minds settled and think about what the passage means in relation to their life.
I get good feedback from them; it seems to help them get into the habit of Quiet Time as often as they have the opportunity.”
If you’re interested:
Thanks for your comments Brother and I will take a look at your book.
The Grand Lodge of Virginia has a downloadable, comprehensive officer training program. The lessons are all in question form, so even though it isn’t from YOUR Grand Lodge, the questions are applicable to ALL Grand Lodges and the lessons are extensive and can be done by any Mason anywhere, with the proper references for your Jurisdiction. Finding someone to grade your lessons could be a challenge, by doing them you may know more than your District Deputy.
Thanks Brother. I’ll take a look.