For those who follow this blog on a regular basis (and hopefully signed up as a "Follower" so that they are entered into our WIIFM Contest) will remember my post about the great material I found on Art of Manliness and its podcast. I've continued to listen to their program, and I came across another great resource / idea that I just had to share with everyone. Why this is great requires a bit of setup, though.
Back in the fall of last year the Grand Master of DeMolay International (then Robert Cockerham) organized and presented conferences on different topics around the country. The closest one to us was in Washington, D.C., and related to communications. At this conference they had a great line up of speakers, one of which was an alumni member of Mother Chapter. Unfortunately, I don't remember the fellows name, but I do remember much of his story. This gentlemen wasn't much older than me (maybe 2 or 3 years at most) and had already lived a life that I couldn't even dream of. He attended an Ivy League school, spent three years working for a high powered consulting firm in California, and then left it all to go travel about Europe for a few months. He came back to the States and found that his wanderlust wasn't quenched, so he took a trip to Asia for an extended period. Upon returning the U.S. he started a small business, but wasn't excited about being settled down, so he took off for South America, where he eventually met his wife, in Argentina! Now, he was back in the States, working on another project that relates to the Masonic Fraternity. Wow! What a story!
Now, where does this leave me? Feeling like a lame and useless slob, that's where. Here is a guy, who is roughly my age, who has experienced so much more than me. This begs the question "what am I doing with my life?" Needless to say, after his presentation I felt horrible about myself (where I'm guessing I was supposed to be inspired.) I had a long talk with my family after that conference, and they made me realize that what I do is important, and that just because I hadn't traveled, I wasn't less than him. I probably should have come to this conclusion on my own, but it helps to be reaffirmed now and then. So how does this relate back to the podcast?
The special guest on this particular episode was Chris Guillebeau, who runs a blog called the Art of Non-Conformity. Chris sounds much like the fellow I heard speak at the conference. He's been all over the world, and plans to have visited every country on the planet by the time he's 35. As I listened to Chris on the podcast I began to have the same feeling of uselessness that I had at the conference last fall. Then Chris made an excellent point. To paraphrase he said that every man chooses what's important to him, and what makes him feel secure and useful in life. For Chris, it happened to be independence and travel, and that is why he does what he does. He also made mention that his wallpaper, on his computer desktop, is a sign that reads "Why do I do this everyday?" He said it makes him take a hard look at himself every morning, and helps him realign his values and what he wants in life. Now that's introspective!
As the podcast ended, I continued to ponder on what Chris had said. Why do I get up and come to work at PMYF everyday? What is it that draws me back? What is that has drawn "Dad" Labagh back every day for the last 27 years? Based upon what Chris had talked about, I came to realize much of it had to do with security. At PMYF I understand the program. I understand the players. I understand the values, culture, and history, and complexities of the Masonic world. I also understand that no matter where I'm at in the U.S., and most of the world, I will have a brother with an open hand waiting to pick me up off of my feet should I find myself in need of aid. On that same thought, I know that others look to me for aid, and that everyday I can have an impact on a persons life by guiding them and helping them work through challenges.
While my life may seem like a boring drudge of websites at times, or a whirlwind of conferences with nary a free weekend in sight, at the end of the day it all comes down to "why do I do this?"
Now, I have an idea of why. So why do you participate in DeMolay or the Masonic Fraternity? Or would you rather be sailing down the Amazon river, and travelling the globe? What are your priorities?
Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony
P.S. - Congratulations go out to Bro. Isaac Holtzer, of Westmoreland Chapter in Greensburg, PA, for being the first winner of our WIIFM contest! Would you like to win? Head over to the WIIFM post for details!
P.S.S. - If you joined us at Convention over the weekend, why don't you take a few minutes and let us know what your experience was like by completing this survey!
P.S.S.S. - Yes, that's a bunch of "S"'s! I just wanted to take a minute to apologize for the large amount of typos that were originally in this article. After doing massive updates to the PA DeMolay website, and coming off of a tiring Convention, I forgot to do a second read through to ensure grammar. In the words of Monty Python, I will sack my editor, which is myself. So, I am sacking myself. We'll see how this goes...