Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving with a Twist

In a recent discussion among members of a Masonic group, the topic of awards and honors came up. This group, as a whole, offers no nationally sponsored awards or honors to recognize members and how have been instrumental in the success of the program. When this idea was brought to them, many said they were happy that no such award existed. This perplexed me a bit. Having come from a DeMolay background, I see great value in well used awards and honors.

Their concerns generally came in one of three ways. First, they didn't like the idea that people would be "in it" for recognition. Next, they were concerned over the hurt feelings that might come up as a result of someone not being recognized. Lastly, many felt that the positive feelings they get from serving was reward enough (and should be enough of a reward for everyone else too.) While I understood their concerns, I found it hard to accept that the bad outweighs the good when it comes to rewarding our members for a job well done.

However, they bring up some good points. Everyone, at some point in their life, gets passed over for a promotion, an award, or something else they truly believe they deserve. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, it becomes a good time to reflect on what you are truly thankful for. While being a Chevalier is a great honor, many will tell you that the events leading up to receiving the cordon of a Chevalier are much more important than the actually knighting. The real "reward" was the enjoyment building up to the receiving of such an honor, not the intrinsic value of what was given.

As you look back on your DeMolay experiences, don't just think about the things that you didn't do, or the things that didn't work, or even the awards you think you deserve. Think about what a wonderful time you've had in the organization and be thankful for that. I know I am.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

1 comment:

  1. I have a co-worker who doesn't ever say the words "Thank you." Instead she says "I appreciate you." It stands out and certainly means a lot more when she says it. We should always remember there are many ways to say thank you. We are dealing with a volunteer organization here and should employ as many methods as are appropriate to make both the youth members and adult volunteers feel appreciated.

    Just recently, I had a similar conversation with my roommate who is a Chevaler. He, like many of my brothers assumed I am a Chevalier as well. I was designated to receive the award but never officially became one. I did not attend the investiture because of when I was notified I would receive the award. I felt slighted because others received it while I was passed over. Also passed over were two brothers who were instrumental in the re-institution of our chapter and were cornerstones of its foundation for its first 3-4 years. I didn't feel right taking the award that they should have gotten before (or at least alongside) me. The advisers at the time apparently thought I already had received the award. Although I had probably earned it by the time I was 17 or 18, it wasn't until I was 21 that I got that letter from Kansas City.

    Recognition is very important. In the end, we all want to be appreciated and respected. It impacts all areas of life: our workplaces, our relationships and most importantly how we interact with our families as fathers and husbands. Sometimes we need to remember that showing appreciation is just as important as saying "I love you" in a personal relationship. You may have always meant to say it, but if the words don't come out, it isn't heard. Once you finally get around to saying it, it may end up sounding disingenuous and be too little too late.

    I was honored to have been designated. Some of the best experiences of my life have centered around DeMolay. Nearly twenty years later, I'm still in touch with dozens (if not hundreds) of people I would not have met if it weren't for my days in DeMolay. My valued friends and trusted brothers see me exactly as I need to be seen. I hope and pray they all know where they stand with me.