Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Chair recognizes... you!

Recognition is a sticky issue in the world of Fraternal politics. It's the one "carrot" that a group can use to keep people involved and interested. It's certainly and important aspect of any organizations program, for if you don't show public appreciation to your volunteers, eventually they will go away. DeMolay is much the same way - although it is often quite a sticky topic to discuss.

On one hand, we offer dozens of awards and merit bars to our members; on the other, we try to impress upon our members not to be a braggart about their achievements and to be modest in their dress (at least here in PA.) We tell our members to wear a single lapel pin, a single neck award or honor (such as the RD or Chevalier) and a single pocket jewel (such as a PMC jewel or merit bars.) This keeps our young men from looking like Swiss Admirals, but doesn't it defeat the purpose of recognition? Perhaps not, but it's something we have to think about.

Recently, I read an article by Mr. Tim Bryce over at the website Freemason Information. In it, Mr. Bryce discusses the need for recognition amongst most people. It relates well to DeMolay, so I thought I would share it here. Enjoy!

"For the last several years our Masonic lodge has been hosting an annual dinner to honor the county’s “Deputy of the Year.” Senior officers at the sheriff’s office select a person they believe deserves the honor and informs the Lodge as to why the individual merits the award. The Lodge then prepares a respectable plaque, schedules a dinner and invites the officer’s family, colleagues, and of course Lodge members. A lot of nice words are spoken on the deputy’s behalf, several photos are taken, and a small honorarium is presented to the officer who typically donates it to a local charity. The Lodge prepares a press release regarding the award and distributes it accordingly to the local press. It doesn’t really require a lot of work and it is the Lodge’s small way of expressing its gratitude not only for the job the deputy has performed, but for the sheriff’s office overall. It’s our way of saying “thank you” for their service. It is certainly not a lavish affair, but it is still greatly appreciated by the department for the recognition they receive. The honoree is flattered by the attention bestowed on him by the Lodge and his superiors, the family looks on proudly, and the public is informed of the good work performed by the sheriff’s office.
As human beings, we all crave some degree of recognition, some more than others. Entertainers gorge on it in a frenzy of media events, but most professions do not have such awards. Some people, who have confidence in their abilities, do not need such recognition and even avoid it, but many of us do, particularly in business where a kind word is rarely offered by anyone, including the boss. We may be quick to criticize, but we tend to be rather lethargic when it comes to issuing a compliment.
No, not everything requires a major media event to express gratitude, sometimes the best recognition is nothing more than a few kind words and a sincere handshake. A gift card, tickets, or some other small token of appreciation may be nice, but I tend to believe taking the person out for dinner or a drink, where you can personally thank the worker, is a nicer touch. To be even more personal, you might want to invite the person to your house for dinner. Such familiarity forms a bond between people and is a convenient way for building trust among workers. In this day and age of political correctness, such familiarity is often avoided as people worry they may offend the other party by saying something out of context and misinterpreted. Consequently, personal dinner parties, which used to be the norm in yesteryear, tend to be avoided in the business world these days. “Show me the cash,” tends to be the preferred alternative in today’s world which I consider somewhat unfortunate.
Regardless of the size of the award, be it a large prize or just a compliment, try to present it with a sense of finesse so the recipient understands it is a genuine and sincere token of appreciation on your part. Sometimes levity is useful for making a presentation, but there should generally be an air of professional courtesy when doling out such awards. If presented too lightly, the recipient may not take it seriously and even be insulted by the gesture.
We have cultivated a positive relationship with the sheriff’s office by presenting the “Deputy of the Year” award for several years now. The recipients appear to be genuinely touched by the sentiment, not to mention the families and co-workers. The award may not seem like much, but when it is presented by the master of our Lodge with a standing ovation from those in attendance, the deputy appreciates our thanks. It’s the little things in life that make it worth living. Saying “thank you” is one of them."
What can your Chapter do to help honor those who deserve a pat on the back - and to keep your dedicated volunteers around?
Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Hard Day's Knight

It appears that I  haven't posted one of my long winded discussions of some obscure topic in quite some time. I know that some people like my longer posts and today will be one for them. For those who like my short and to the point posts, wait until Thursday, as I'm sure I won't have much to say then as I'll be all typed out from this piece!

As DeMolay International gets ready to debut the Kingdom of DeMolay, we find that the idea of being a knight has come back into vogue in recent times. I myself find great honor in being called a Sir Knight in Commandery and many DeMolays feel as if their organization is sort of a knightly order unto itself. But, there are some strict definitions of what being a knight actually is and when one can truly be called a knight.

Knighthoods started as a way for monarchs to recognize those outstanding warriors that he thought should ride a horse into battle. Horses and armor were expensive commodities, so not every man was able to fight in this manner. As the king was the man with the most money, he would often help finance these early "knights" by giving them the equipment they needed to fight for him. As time went on, men would be forced to purchase these goods on their own, meaning that only wealthy men could be knights. This poses the age old question of "which came noble, the chicken or the knight?"

What do I mean by that? Well, as time went on, the title of Knight became the lowest rank of nobility. To be a noble, one must have money; the same is required to be a knight. So, at some point, the title of "knight" transitioned from one bestowed upon fighters who good soldiers, to that of a title bestowed on nobles who had the money to purchase the required gear (who then became soldiers.) Conversely, the title would be bestowed upon wealthy merchants and civilians, entering them into the realm of nobility by virtue of their money or contributions to the realm. With these changes came the idea of "Chivalry," or the courtly code of honor that a knight must follow. We've discussed chivalry in an earlier post, so I won't go much into that idea here. Go check out that post for more information.

The Queen of England knights Sir
Patrick Stewart for his contributions to art.
So, by definition, a knight has to be created by a king or ruler and placed into his service. This tradition continues today in many countries, especially in England, where the Queen can still honor those who have made important contributions to Great Britain with a knighthood. Similar situations exist in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and other countries. The one unique area of this requirement is religious knightly orders - i.e. the Knights Templar.

The Pope of the Catholic Church is the head of the organization world wide and also the leader of the Vatican - the world's smallest country. As head of this organization / country he also maintains the authority to create and bestow knighthoods. In essence, that is what the pope did when he authorized such groups as the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller. Instead of being created knights by a king, they were created knights by the Pope. This commission from the Pope elevated them to the equivalent level of knighthood offered by a ruler of a country, but it came with some special restrictions - such as not being able to own land and not being able to marry. For those desperate to become knights - such as the third or fourth sons of lower nobility, this would prove to be a way to gain honor, glory, and the title of knight, making it an attractive prospect.

As time went on, becoming a knight was more about having a strong ethical code and upstanding character than one's ability to ride a horse and fight with a lance. In modern times the title of knight is granted by monarchs to recognize public service or outstanding careers instead of military prowess. People like Elton John, Alec Guinness, and Paul McCartney have been knighted for their contributions to the arts. Others, like Tony Blair, Winston Churchill, and Gordon Brown were granted the honor for their political careers. However, one key problem remains - if one is not a citizen of a country with a system of knighthood in place, one cannot become a knight. This is exactly the case in America.

As America is a democracy and has no monarchical ruler, it cannot and does not bestow knighthoods. While there are plenty of prestigious honors given to our citizens, such as the Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, no one is a knight in the eyes of the United States government. This has created an interesting situation in America, as anyone can claim to be a knight. Because of this, there has been growth in what are called "self-styled orders"; these are orders of knighthood that are not bestowed by a monarch, but rather by an organization or other leader. While they may uphold the same values as knighthoods of old, they are considered illegitimate by countries that grant knighthoods as an honor. However, in many cases, these self styled orders are just as prestigious and exclusive here in America as knighthoods granted by monarchs in other countries.

Sir Knight and "Dad" William Howard Koon, II,
Most Eminent Grand Master
Grand Encampment of Knights Templar
of the World
One example of this are the Knights Templar of the Masonic fraternity. While they call themselves knights, they are not recognized as such by any authority other than themselves. However, with thousands of members around the world, one could hardly dismiss them as an insignificant or false order of knighthood. The members of the Grand Encampement of Knights Templar donate millions of dollars each year to charities and continue to uphold the values of their god and country. While their authority may not be derived from a king, their impact on society certainly makes each member worthy of the title of "Sir Knight."

As usual, we're at that point in the article where you are asking "What does this have to do with DeMolay?" Hopefully it is more apparent than usual, but let's recap to make sure. While members of DeMolay aren't knights in the strictest sense, some could consider us a self styled order of knighthood. We believe in the Seven Cardinal Virtues, defend our faith and our country, and seek to aid the poor and suffering. We may not call ourselves knights, but by any definition, the behavior of our members can be downright chivalrous as times.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thomas Rank... wait, what?

As I stated in an earlier post, I'm in the process of updating the PA Masonic Youth Foundation website. As with any site that has been online for years, it has a myriad number of links and articles, some that seem to have been lost to the vast warp of the net. One of the more interesting one's (to me anyways) deals with the history of Thomas Ranken Patton, the namesake of the Masonic Conference Center at Patton Campus. Anyone who has been to Memorial Hall knows the familiar portrait of a stately elderly man with extraordinarily large mutton chops. This painting keeps watch over the main building of the facility that would be his legacy. But, just who was Thomas Ranken Patton?

Thomas Ranken Patton was born in 1824, in Crindle Cottage, Crindle, District of Newtown-Limavady, Parish of Tamlaghtfinlagan, Barony of Kennaught, County Londonderry, Ireland. He never knew the exact date of his birth, and adopted December 24th for the purpose of record and celebration.

He emigrated to the U.S.A. on April 11, 1844, and took a job with his uncle David Ranken, a tea importer. By July of 1849 he had started his own business as an importer of general groceries. He became a U. S. Citizen on October 8, 1852. He was made a Mason in Union Lodge No. 121 in Philadelphia on June 13, 1861, and served as Worshipful Master in 1867.

Brother Patton was an importer and dealer in fine family groceries for 30 years, and was a founder of the Union Trust Company in 1882. He was a Director of the Huntingdon and Broad Top Railroad, and a Director of the Electric Cable Construction Company. He was also a member of the Board of Managers of the Masonic Home of Pennsylvania, est. 1871, (which merged with the Masonic Villages of Pennsylvania in January 2004.)

He married Miss Ellen Hunt Graham of Tazewell, Tennessee, who was a confederate Army sympathizer. They were married at the West Spruce Street Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia on April 2, 1868. His only son, Thomas Graham Patton, was born on March 21, 1869. His wife died just 6 days later, on March 27th. At the age of 7, after an attack of scarlet fever, followed by diabetes, his son died. Less than two years later the heartbroken Mr. Patton sold his grocery business to retire, but became active in the investment of his wealth, and in Masonic circles. He was elected in 1873 and served as Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge for 34 consecutive years, until his death.

Brother William J. Kelly, R. W. Past Grand Master, donated Egyptian Hall at the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia in honor of his friend, Thomas Ranken Patton. His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, appointed Brother Patton the Representative of the Grand Lodge of England to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, the first such appointment ever made by the Grand Lodge of England.

During his lifetime he was described by R. W. Past Grand Master Michael Arnold as "a courtly gentleman of polite and dignified manner, tall and erect, commanding respect by his presence." On December 27, 1889, he donated to the Grand Lodge the sum of $25,000 to create the Thomas Ranken Patton Memorial Charity Fund, in memory of his late wife, to be used for "the relief of poor but respectable widows" of Pennsylvania Masons. He later added the sum of $125,000 to the fund. Patton's example established a precedent that was followed by several other well-to-do Masons of his time.

In December 1900, the Grand Lodge elected him an Honorary Member, an honor only conferred before that time upon Brother George Washington and Brother the Marquis de LaFayette.

He died in Philadelphia on September 13, 1907, and his formal portrait was immediately thereafter commissioned, as it was a custom, to that time, not to hang portraits of living Grand Lodge officers in the Masonic Temple. It was presented to the Grand Lodge in 1908. His extensive estate consisted of shrewd stock and real estate investments, and more than half of it, valued at approximately $1,040,000 after taxes, was give to the Grand Lodge for the establishment of a boarding school for male orphan children of Master Masons, in memory of his son, Thomas. It would later be established as the Thomas Ranken Patton Masonic Institution for Boys.

On October 6, 1923 the cornerstone of Patton Hall was laid, and the school opened in January of 1925 with an enrollment of 14 students. The main educational building, Memorial Hall, opened in September 1926 and included the machine, carpenter and brick shops and the classrooms. A second dormitory, Ranken Hall, was opened in 1928. The school was dedicated, in Patton's words, to "...the development of capable industrious and honest men" and for 50-years it provided vocational, moral and religious training to all students.

Closed in 1977 due to lack of enrollment, the Grand Lodge subsequently approved the renovation and conversion of the facility into the Masonic Conference Center--Patton Campus which is the headquarters and center of operation of the Pennsylvania Youth Foundation, which was established with a purpose consistent with the aims of Brother Patton, to realize more fully the potential of youth. We pay a tribute of gratitude and reverence to the memory of Thomas Ranken Patton for both his generosity and foresight to extend Freemasonry's charity toward youth.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Eye Contact - not iContact

Whew! What a weekend! Monday mornings around the PMYF office are some of the busiest times, especially after a big event like Patriots Class this past weekend. If you want to know more about that event, check out - where we will post a wrap up and some photos. Thanks to this whirlwind of activity, I don't have much time to write an in depth article for the blog today. However, my trusty and reliable friends over at the Art of Manilness have provided me a great resource to pass along.

One of the most noticeable and least attractive qualities a man can develop is the inability to look another person square in the eye while having a conversation. On the other hand, someone who stares you down during a chat isn't exactly appealing either. Rather, one has to find that happy medium between good eye contact and aversion. In a recent article, entitled Look ‘Em in the Eye: Part I -The Importance of Eye Contact, the good folks over at the Art of Manliness have given a great primer on just how to do that - make good eye contact with the person you're talking to. What are you waiting for? Check it out!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, February 10, 2012

Space Cadet Academy - Mission go!

So, it appears I missed a day in posting, for which I apologize. I've been knee deep in building a brand new version of the PA Masonic Youth Foundation website and didn't get a chance to blog yesterday. But, we're back in action to day with a post offered by Bro. Alex Rauschenberger, Deputy State Master Councilor and Dean of Students at the Space Cadet Academy. What is Space Cadet Academy? Read on! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

The mission of Space Cadet Academy is to provide enthusiastic young DeMolays with quality training so that they can become fully capable Space Crusaders of their Chapters and all of Pennsylvania DeMolay.  Space Cadet Academy will prepare DeMolays for complete service as Space Crusaders teaching them important skills so that they may carry the teachings of DeMolay into their daily lives, into service with their Chapters, and anywhere they may go.  Space Cadet Academy will expand on the Cadet's DeMolay knowledge in both fun and educational ways and will also help increase teamwork.  Through translation of the training, received by the Cadets in all fields of study, Space Cadet Academy graduates will be prepared to combat the forces of darkness and help carry the light of DeMolay throughout the universe as Space Crusaders.

Space Cadet Academy’s 2012 Semester will begin on May 4th and will be held at Patton Campus in Elizabethtown Pennsylvania until the 6th.  If you are interested in attending this prestigious academy, admission applications will be due in to PMYF Admissions Office.  A complete course calendar will be posted in the upcoming weeks, but many bright and fun opportunities await any aspiring young men who seek to become Cadets in the 2012 class of Space Cadet Academy.  Cadets will be trained on how to build a working star cruiser out of lego-style model bricks and will also participate in a competition testing their Space Crusader skills.  In addition Cadets will have the opportunity to learn more about the complex workings of interplanetary communication and the history of DeMolay and Space Crusaders. 

It is of the upmost importance that we, as young DeMolays and future Space Crusaders of this great Commonwealth, join-up and train at this, the most prestigious of all Space Crusader training facilities.  Without the proper training to become a Space Crusader, we could easily be overpowered by the forces of darkness, our lawful enemies, who’s only goal is to spread darkness over the land and take away the light of DeMolay’s teachings forever.  As Space Crusaders it is our mission to stop the forces of darkness and continue work for justice and equality across the universe.  Do you accept this mission?

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Very Special Patriots Day Observance

We recently received information from Lorraine Chapter, located in Butler, PA, about their upcoming Patriots observance. In an effort to get out the word, we thought we'd share it with all of you. Below is the information received from "Mom" Rauschenberger.

What:    Lorraine Chapter Patriot's Day Observance, All are welcome to attend
When:   Sunday, February 19th, 2012
Where:  Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, PA 
Time:     Begin at 3pm with memorial service, followed by touring the memorial with dinner to follow
              at nearby restaurant, Ruby Tuesday located in Somerset, PA
Dress:    Suit and tie for men, street length dresses or pant suits for ladies.
Cost:      Free admission to the National Memorial; Dinner is at your own expense.
RSVP:    "Dad" or "Mom" Rauschenberger by Wednesday, February 15th
                at so we can make proper restaurant reservations.

The group will begin with prayer followed by a ceremony, written by Bro. Alex Rauschenberger, Deputy State Master Councilor, comparing the heroic actions of Jacques DeMolay with those of the passengers of United Flight 93 and how both saved hundreds or thousands of lives by sacrificing their own.  A wreath will be laid at the memorial in honor of the lives given in sacrifice.  

Following the 15-30 minute ceremony, there will be ample time to tour the National Memorial grounds before we head into Somerset to enjoy a dinner at Ruby Tuesday Restaurant located at 1019 North Center Avenue, Somerset, PA, (pay for your own meal).

The Butler group is planning on leaving at 1pm.  That should put them in Shanksville around 2:30.  Since they are not familiar with the memorial set up, it will give them plenty of time to talk to the park workers to see where they want them according to the park permit obtained for the event.   There will around 40 chairs available on a first come first serve basis - everyone will just need to gather close and the young men will need to project, especially if the weather is not good. Also available are three wheelchairs.

What a great way to observe an important day!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Senator, Congressman, Captain, & Brother

This post is part of series of entries written by the Elected State Officers of PA DeMolay. Each of them have been assigned topics to discuss and offer their opinions on. Today's post is offered by Bro. Neal Skibicki, State Treasurer. Enjoy!

Since its beginning, the Order of DeMolay was noted for its support of patriotic ideals and virtues. This is mostly likely attributed to the diligence and effort of the members of the Order in practicing the seventh cardinal virtue - Patriotism. While every DeMolay should embody this virtue, some have gone above and beyond the call of duty in representing our great nation.

 Most of us are familiar with a few famous DeMolays such as  Terry Bradshaw and Walt Disney, but there are even more of us who have given so much to our country. For example, Bro. Robert B. Anderson (Former Secretary of the Treasury, Former Secretary of the Navy), Bro. Paul E. Tsongas (Former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and 1992 Democratic Presidential Candidate), Bro. Mike Enzi (US Senator from Wyoming), Bro. and Captain Lance P. Sijan (Vietnam Prisoner of War and Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient), Bro. and General John P. McConnell (Fighter Pilot and Former United States Air Force Chief of Staff), Bro. James H. Douglas (Governor of Vermont), Bro. Charles Robb (Former Governor of Virginia, and also a Former US Senator from Virginia), and even Bro. and President Bill Clinton. Although they may hold high positions in our government or military forces, you can call each and every one of these men your brother, and know that many of them would not have "reached for the stars" as they did if they had not been members of DeMolay.

Bro. Carl Albert, Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said, "In reflecting on my forty-nine years of public service, I find that the precepts of the Order of DeMolay have been invaluable to me. This was particularly true the two times I was just a heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States and faced very difficult decisions. My public life, as well as my private life, has been guided by the DeMolay vow – to love and serve God, my country, and my fellow man". Take those words to heart and always remember each and every one of our famous patriot brothers in history was just like you when they were growing up, a member of this great fraternity DeMolay.

Bring your Patriotic pride to your Chapter's Patriots Day Observance and our annual Patriots Class in Reading, PA, where we will be honoring another great Patriot, and proud supporter of DeMolay, Illustrious "Dad" Russel W. Baker, 33°, and Deputy for Pennsylvania of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction!