Monday, October 27, 2014

What does it mean to be an adult?

When we are young, the only thing we want to be is older. We want to be 16 to drive. We want to be 18 (an adult by the law's standards.) We want to be 21 so we can drink alcohol. But, is that what really makes us an adult? The ability to drive a car or live to a certain age does not an adult make. Every person goes through a phase in their teens and twenties when they think they are an adult and making adult decisions. I know I did.

We all have those moments where it suddenly feels like you're an adult. Perhaps it was when you signed the loan paperwork to go to college or when you graduate and receive your degree. Maybe it was when you sent in your paperwork and registered for the Draft. Or, perhaps it was when you had ice cream and cookies for breakfast for the first and time no one yelled at you. Whether funny or not, these are the experiences that make us all feel like adults and they all have one thing in common - responsibility (yes, even the ice cream.)

Being an adult has nothing to do with having fun or being independent. Being an adult means one thing - taking on and understanding responsibility. When you sign loan paperwork, you're agreeing to repay thousands of dollars on a schedule in a timely manner. You're now responsible to the bank. When you filled out that draft card, you took on the duty of defending your country if need be and suddenly became responsible to Uncle Sam. That ice cream you had, well, you decided what to put into your body, and you'll be responsible for that later when health problems plague you.

Why am I thinking about this? In one week, I'm going to take on one of the biggest responsibilities of my life - signing my first mortgage and owning my first home. I'm now responsible to many, many, other people. I now have to think about how my actions affect my ability to pay the bank for the next 30 years. I need to keep my home maintained and become a responsible member of my neighborhood and community. That's what being an adult means - being responsible and dependable.

However, there is another aspect to this equation which may not be quickly apparent; the concept of personal responsibility. When you take on these duties of life, you also accept that you can and will be held accountable for the decisions you make. By owning a home, I know that I'm responsible for certain maintenance duties and taxes. When I became an officer in my Lodge, I knew that I had agreed to attend meetings, perform ritual, and help lead my Brothers. It no longer mattered if I felt like I needed to go to Lodge. My desire to attend ritual practice was no longer my choice. I had taken on the responsibility of doing so and it was now my responsibility to be there.

Of course, there is always a way out of responsibilities - quitting. You can quit making your loan payments at any time. You can quit taking care of your home at any time. You can quit eating ice cream at any time. But, what ramifications does that have? In the case of the ice cream,  probably pretty positive ones. In the case of the loan payments and the home, very negative. You can always quit anything - you just have to be willing to deal with the consequences of doing so. But, at the end of the day, what does quitting say about you? What does it say about your ability to be responsible and make good decisions? Does it show that you are an adult? That's what you have to contemplate.

Personal responsibility - you know you're truly an adult when you start acting with this idea in mind.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Tribute to a Fallen Advisor

"Dad" Matt Wills
Today's post comes from "Dad" Matt Wills, Chapter Advisor of Crusade Chapter in Scranton, PA. Earlier this week, we posted a write up regarding the memorial tree that was planted in memory of "Dad" Garfield Beynon, who was an Advisor for Crusade Chapter for several decades. During that dedication, "Dad" Wills offered the following eulogy, in memory of "Dad" Beynon:

"Dad" Beynon never missed a beat,;always getting in on the action, whether it being the mediator to a disagreement of the Advisors and members or wanting to join in on the action in order for him to get his two cents in - no matter what.

It didn’t matter what he was asked of or for, he was always willing, no matter how far out of reach it seemed to be.  He never turned a person, a member, or a brother away - always lending that helping hand, and giving everyone he came in contact with the satisfaction and comfort of always knowing he was there if you needed him. 

So many people would remember his uncanny ability of always being able to tell someone where they could go could go and how to get there, in just a few words, and if you were unsure he would probably map it out for you. His DeMolay boys were "Dad" Beynon’s family, life, passion, and one of life’s prized possessions. When it came to DeMolay it seemed as nothing else mattered.
"Dad" Garfield Beynon

He was so very well known in PA DeMolay, having received so many honors and distinctions; but one sticks out as the most re-lived memory; so much so that no matter how many times we would tell the story, he would always get that deep down laugh and he would have tears in his eyes.  It was the 2000 PA DeMolay Convention, in Camp Hill.  "Dad" Labagh spent quite a few minutes speaking of the many attributes, and qualities "Dad" Beynon had given to DeMolay in his 31 years as an advisor.  After "Dad" Labagh finished speaking about the person who was nominated for the 2000 Advisor of the Year and recipient of Guild of the Leather Apron, he requested that they come to the podium.  Unbeknownst to Dad Labagh, "Dad" Beynon was fast asleep at the banquet table and snoring. Having been getting yelled at to get his attention, we were able to wake him up. He was a bit confused as to why were we yelling at him and all these people were standing looking at us and clapping, as "Dad" Dubeck was yelling Tom wants you at the podium.  Once he arrived at the podium, he was bewildered as to what he did or why he was standing at a podium with it only being him and "Dad" Labagh, as 200 members, and advisors were standing and applauding him. The table that the members and advisors sat at for that dinner and every other dinner was always the furthest one from the podium, unfortunately in this cases he found himself taking the longest walk and not knowing where he was going or why.

"Dad" Beynon will always be remembered for being able to catch himself a quick power nap. He always as he sat down the off switch would kick in.  So, I say to my friend, and to my Brother, "...and until we meet again," in your own frequently quoted wording “we’ll catch ya”.   

Monday, October 20, 2014

Remembering "Dad" Garfield Beynon

Over this past weekend, PA DeMolay played host to its annual Flag Football Tournament at Patton Campus. As usual, the event was well attended and filled with good, quality, sportsman-like competition. Yet, even as the young men played hard on the field, they took a moment to remember someone who could not be with them.

"Dad" Garfield Beynon, who was an Advisor for Crusade Chapter in Scranton, PA, died in a tragic automobile accident last December on his way home from PA DeMolay's annual Grand Master's Class. "Dad" Beynon was a fixture of not only Crusade Chapter, but also PA DeMolay. To honor his memory, Crusade Chapter talked with the PMYF office about dedicating a tree in honor of "Dad" Beynon on Patton Campus, in Elizabethtown, where he spent many a weekend over the last 30+ years.

On Saturday, October 18, 2014, members and friends of PA DeMolay and Crusade Chapter gathered around a new tree, to honor the memory of "Dad" Beynon. The Master Councilor, the Junior Councilor (who is also "Dad" Beynon's grandson), and the Chapter Advisor of Crusade Chapter all spoke about the impact he had before placing the first shovel of dirt around the base of the tree, which will stand as a fitting reminder of the impact this man had on all who came in contact with him.

Thank you to everyone who helped remember "Dad" Beynon - we know his tree will grow strong and loom large, just like his work with the young men.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Long Delayed Thank You

Earlier this week, I was packing up some boxes in my basement in anticipation of moving. The task seemed pretty menial at the time. I was digging through old photos, discarding items I no longer used, and generally creating order out of chaos. In one of the boxes, I found a stash of office supplies that used to be at my desk when I was in high school and college. It contained pencils, pens, a hole punch, etc. At the bottom of the pile, I discovered a small green box and recalled that it contained something unusual.

You see, in this box, was an honest to goodness fountain pen. That's right - one of those "old timey" writing instruments that were primarily used before the invention of the ball point pen. My memory having been appropriately jogged, I started remembering where the pen had come from. Then it struck me. I must have been 11 or 12 years old and the pen was a gift from an older couple my parents showed dogs with. I used to visit them and assist them with caring for their Pulis (a rare canine breed from Hungary.)

I decided to take the pen into the office and see if I could get it working. After a few minutes of cleaning out the ink and attaching a new inkwell, the pen was working smoothly and I was off and writing. Let me just say, there is nothing quite like signing your name with a fountain pen! Now that the instrument was back and working, I was curious about the value. I did a quick internet search and was flabbergasted. The pen, which I then held, was no ordinary writing utensil. It was a Cross brand pen with a 14k nib (the part that the ink flows to which touches the paper.) Little did I know, this pen was a very expensive gift to a very unappreciative "tweenage" me.

Now knowing the value of what I was given, and quite frankly, appreciating it a lot more, I called up my folks and asked if they still knew the couple who had given me the pen (as I hadn't talked to them in years.) They were    elderly and my parents hadn't seen them in quite some time. I took to the internet and tried to do some searching, but sadly, came up fruitless. So, to Bobbi and Bernie Silverman, if you ever happen to come across this blog post, please know just how incredibly thankful I am; not only for the pen, but for the life lessons you taught me.

As usual, you are probably saying to yourself "Wow, cool story, but what does this have to do with DeMolay?" As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I'm reminded just how ungrateful we generally can be. I know that I'm guilty of that trait at times. It's important to take time to say thank you to those that assist your life. Whether those persons be your parents (the first Precept, Filial Love), your Advisors and mentors (the third Precept, Courtesy), or your friends (the fourth Precept, Comradeship), we all need to find time to be more appreciative of those around us.

In that spirit, I have a thank you card to write (with my new pen, of course!)

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tips for Being an Expert Public Speaker

While looking for something to Blog about today, I came across an excellent infographic that can help all of us become better public speakers. Credit goes to where I found the image. Use that link to see a zoomed in version!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony