Address from the District Deputy to the Grand Master for District #10
“Communicate to Educate”
Another Masonic year is upon us with a new crop of Officers bringing a fresh perspective, helping to fulfill our mission of “Making good men better.” Our Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Warren R. Schoeben has chosen “Communicate to Educate” for the theme of his year in the Grand East. How appropriate.
Communication is something sorely lacking in today’s world. Somewhat shocking, when you consider 24 hour a day news, Twitter, email, Skype, etc. I few years ago, I was in a fairly remote part of the Amazon River Basin…and saw a child with a cell phone and a school with three satellite dishes out back. Incredible. And yet, despite the fact that mankind has NEVER been more “connected”, never had more technological ability, been more wired in, with more capability than ever to communicate…we’ve somehow lost the ability. Having 200 “friends” on Facebook isn’t communicating. Sending mass e-mails isn’t communicating. Having a wallet full of membership cards isn’t communicating. What are we missing?
In Twenty First Century America, it’s essential that we embrace the internet and all the technological media available to us. If Masonry is to continue to the Twenty Second Century, we have to stay relevant to the generations coming up. Technology is how we meet many of our new members. But…is that where it ends? What’s next? “Contact” may start on the internet, but actual communication comes later. It’s verbal. It’s face to face. Even video chat can’t capture the firmness of a man’s grip. That’s where the Masonic experience begins. The technological, sterile, mechanical, and at times hostile, state of today’s “connectivity” cannot compete with actual communication in forming a meaningful experience.
Now…where to start? It starts with knowing how to communicate effectively. Not louder, more shrill, with wittier name calling, and “better” demonizing. Instead, it starts with civility. Civility is a lost art in today’s media and political world. If fact, 2 years ago if you tried to look up “civility” on Wikipedia do you know what came up? Nothing. There was only a link that said “see INCIVILITY”. Today, thanks to some Masons in California, that situation has been fixed. There is a nice article on what civility is and the need for more. Our Grand Lodge is going to offer a course on being an Ambassador of Civility (for a preview of development, go to MasonicCivility.org. It will NOT be a course intended to change your firmly held political, ideological, and certainly not your religious beliefs. Oddly enough, you may wind up better able to communicate them! Imagine you’re having an argument, or um, “discussion” with someone. Which of these statements is likely to further the discussion: #1) “Shut up, you Nazi A-Hole!!”, or…#2)”Explain to me why you feel that way.”? I think you know the answer. Once we label people, it relieves us of the “burden” of being civil. Without being civil, we don’t communicate. Without communication we get…what we’ve got. It’s time to reset the narrative. You won’t change the world, but you can shine a light in your little corner.
Be civil…and …”Communicate to Educate.”
VWB Terrell Goertz
District Deputy to the Grand Master for Dist. #10
of the MWGL of F&AM of Washington