Being a Mentor

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by Blake Bowden, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    All too often a newly made Mason, usually at the Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft stages in his Masonic career, drops out and eventually demits or receives a non-payment of dues suspension. Is it his fault??? No, it is yours!!! You, as his sponsor and mentor, began ignoring him the minute the ink from your signature had dried on his petition for initiation. You were not there for his initiation, passing or raising. You failed to assist him with his memory work. You failed to introduce him throughout your jurisdiction by not inviting him out to visit other lodges with you. You failed to phone him on a regular basis or visit him, to ensure he is not having any difficulties with his memory work. You failed to invite him and his wife out to a ladies night, to ensure his wife felt part of the Masonic community. He probably does not know the protocol for these types of social functions as of yet and never assume he does. Basically, you left him standing alone, thus leaving him with the feeling he is not part of the Masonic fraternity, subsequently losing interest in his lodge and never returning.

    This, my brethren, is OUR fault, not the members who lose interest. They lose interest because they are not stimulated in lodge, their sponsors forget their obligations and most of all, they are being ignored/disregarded amongst the lodge members who should be taking these new members under their wing and making him feel welcomed and part of the circle. It is estimated that there is an alarming rate of approximately 20% of new members, usually EA or FC, who have lost interest in the lodge and have demitted, or not returned.

    It is your duty as a sponsor/mentor to ensure, once you petition someone, that you strive to stay with him throughout the entire process. You should be ensuring that the new member is cared for, support and directed throughout the process. This must continue until such time he is either accepted into the circle, which should be automatic, considering our purpose, or until they are comfortable enough on their own to build their own friendships amongst the brethren.

    Don't just assume that because he receives his monthly summons he should feel welcome to attend the stated meetings. Ensure you remind him of the meetings and offer to drive him there for the first few. Be there from his entering the lodge, signing the porch book, introducing him to members he has not yet met and sit with him. After the close of the lodge, sit with him at the festive board until it is time to leave.

    I have heard of an incident. A friend of mine moved from one province to another. When he visited a lodge in that jurisdiction, he was surprised to see one of his sponsors from his mother lodge, who also moved away. His sponsor did not recognize him at first and asked him if he would have a problem with a board of trial. Another friend of mine was sponsored a few years ago and one of his sponsors lived across the street from him. Not once did his sponsor visit or phone him to see how his memory work was or if he required assistance. Luckily, this newly made Mason was a fast learner, a keen member and went though all the degrees by himself, without any assistance from his sponsors at all.

    In closing brethren, if you are going to sponsor someone, be there for him after the ink on his petition dries, from start to finish. I realize that many of us, due to family and work commitments, cannot be there all of the time. But there is always that second person who affixed his signature on that petition and has the same obligation as you do.

    Just remember that every new member we lose, we are also losing the possibility of the ten people he may of sponsored throughout his Masonic career and so on. If we, as a fraternity, are to survive, we must remember the duties and obligations owed to our new members. Just remember before you sponsor someone - will you be there for him?

    Source: Bro. Donald M. Scandrett
     
  2. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    Great stuff, Blake.

    These are just a couple of the "small things" that we should be doing for every one of our newer Brothers. Nothing, not one single thing, is as important for these men as showing them that they are our Brother by making them feel genuinely welcome as an important part of the fraternity. Mentoring is not just helping with the memory work (though that is an important part). It's teaching all the other stuff, big and small, that makes the new member fill like an "insider"; like he really does belong. No brother should ever be sitting alone in Lodge or at the Festive Board, but this is especially true for the new member. Find ways to make him feel welcome and involved.
    I swear, the way his face lights up when you something as simple as greet that new member when he comes in the door for his first few meetings and introduce him around (yes, again) is priceless. Try it!
     

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