Monday, November 28, 2011

The Art of Falling on Your Own Sword

Long time readers of this blog will know that I'm very involved in the Knights Templar in Pennsylvania. I have proudly been a member of a two different Commanderies and am currently serving as a Division Commander (kind of like a District Deputy.) I really enjoy my time with the Sir Knights and I continue to learn things from them. Anyone who dismisses the value of the older members of the Masonic fraternity needs to rethink their stance. We may need more young people in the fraternity, but without mentors to teach us about what has come before, there would be an empty space when it comes to knowledge.

The one thing that seems to "irk" younger folks is when older persons point out when they have done something wrong or made a mistake. This often happens in our fraternal world, especially with ritual. Many times we get corrected and think to ourselves "... it was only a tiny mistake, what does it matter?" Sometimes the older guys are just being picky, but most of the time they are doing it to help you improve. They really do mean well, even if it comes off a little rough. Recently, I had just such an experience in Commandery.

To put it simply, I made a wrong call when it came to something one of my local Commanderies wanted to do. I told them it was okay when in reality it was not. It's as simple as that. They came to me for advice, I gave them the answer I thought was correct without consulting my resources and in turn, I made a mistake. Was it a big mistake? Not particularly, but it was a mistake none the less. When the Grand Commander found out about this mistake, I received an e-mail stating that I would be reprimanded for the action. I was sad to say the least. I had made a call and it was wrong and now I had to pay the consequences. No one likes being punished, but we all have to pay our proverbial debts.

So, I did the only thing I could do. I responded to the email and said that it was indeed my call, that I took responsibility for the action, and that I understood the consequences. In return, I received a pleasant email back from the Grand Commander who was obviously gratified by my reaction. It is his job to uphold the Constitution of the body and in my case, that is exactly what he did. However, I'm sure many men have a hard time accepting the outcome of events when they are wrong. It is unusual for someone to take responsibility in this day and age.

Which brings us back to DeMolay. As DeMolays, we are instilled with the Seven Cardinal Virtues - Filial Love, Reverence for Sacred Things, Courtesy, Comradeship, Fidelity, Cleaness, and Patriotism. Notice what is missing from that list - honesty. It's such a simple trait that it is just expected that all DeMolays will strive to have it. It's not always the easiest trait to stick too, but it is incredibly important. The world respects men who can recognize the error of their ways, face the outcomes, and apologize.

We are all wrong at various times in our life. A real man will own up to his short comings and strive to make them right. He will not make excuses for his actions or try to hide them. Real men don't have to hide behind distractions and false reasoning.

Be a man and take credit when it is due and take the blame when it is squarely on your shoulders. You'll be surprised at how much respect you get.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

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