Page 7 - Feb 2015
P. 7

Page 7

                                             Mentoring

                                                      Burt Boma

I recently received a copy of the January 2015 Grand Lodge newsletter. In addition to the various articles, also
included is a list of membership changes that have occurred during the preceding two months. In examining
the statistics, I counted a total of 4 raised, 3 affiliations, 14 deaths, 5 dimits, and 63 suspensions NPD. To any
concerned brother, these numbers should be extremely troubling - particularly those concerning suspensions
and dimits.

While I suspect a handful of those losses may be attributed to those who because of their work left our
jurisdiction, I believe the vast majority of them reflect a lack of interest or disillusionment in their lodge
experiences.

How many times in our lodges have we observed an enthusiastic candidate receive his first degree and perhaps
even his second or third only to stop attending and eventually drop his membership? In some instances, it may
be because after observing our rituals and customs they came to the realization that this simply was not for
them or that their interests took them in other directions. In others, it may have been because of a failure to
understand what was being presented to them in the way it was presented. Still others may have dropped their
membership as a result of not feeling themselves to be a part of the lodge or engaged in its activities. Whatever
the reason, I believe the majority of these losses could have been prevented through proactive communication
with the brothers prior to, during, and after receiving their respective degrees. This brings me to the topic of
mentoring.

If you think back to when you first came into the lodge as an Entered Apprentice, you can remember that as
being a very daunting and overwhelming experience. Even the manner in which you were received at the door
should give any thinking person a reason to pause and reconsider his decision to walk through it. The very
nature of our Fraternity often leads men to join us with little, or no idea of what is fully expected of them and
what they can, in return, expect to gain from membership. It is in this situation that a mentor is essential to
provide the candidate with support, advice, and above all friendship during this important and formative time.

So, what does a mentor do?
Mentoring is a process where an individual or several individuals can pass on their Masonic knowledge and
experience to a less experienced brother. The role of a mentor is to ensure that a new brother understands and
becomes engaged into the ideas and aims of our Fraternity and ultimately to his lodge.

By engaged, I mean someone who is committed to their Freemasonry; regularly attends their lodge and takes
an active role in lodge activities. By comparison, someone considered to be "disengaged" may be a Mason by
right of membership, but not understand the expectations and principles of our Order, not regularly attend or
participate in lodge activities, and probably are not trying to apply their Masonic learning to their everyday
lives.

So, as a mentor, how do I do that?
I believe the key to being a successful mentor is to take everything one step at a time. Just as Masonry is a
progressive science, so should be the process of mentoring. Understand that the candidate will have presented
to him a great deal of information and ideas to assimilate. It will be presented in a manner that is totally new to
him and in a form of our language that, outside of our doors is almost never used in today's communication. In
order to avoid overwhelming the candidate, it is important to identify what the candidate needs to know and
when he needs to know it. This is perhaps best achieved by conveying your knowledge to him in stages.
Common topics should include:
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