This question is by far the single most important question that I have ever received about my lodge. It is one question that, if it can't be answered effortlessly and truly, will be the single greatest contributor to the death or growth of a lodge, and I can honestly say that I struggled to answer that question. It was put to me by a dear friend and Brother who is wondering to what end do all of these degrees lead. If it be to sitting through more degrees, which has been the end result at my lodge, than the light is dimming and may never shine like it once did.
What is the use of going through a long and serious initiation into a "brotherhood" if at the end you are treated to watching and performing initiations and nothing else.
My lodge is not fun. Alright, I admitted it.
We have had occasions where we almost reached a level of fun, but, they have been too few and far between. Too often, as I have lamented numerous times, the only thing you hear after a degree or meeting is the squeal of tires leaving the parking lot. The meals we have before the meetings are superficial to say the least because they are more obligation than true brotherhood. The "veterans" are so happy to see newbies that they rarely take the time to familiarise themselves with them because they are too busy venting old stories or gripes about the world. Since no one becomes really familiar with the new guys, they feel left out and if they come back at all, it is only out of a sense of obligation and not because they want to come. There is the crux of the problem at my lodge. Nobody wants to come, they feel they have to be there. Burdens do not make Brothers. Apart from a few including myself, the majority of office holders in my lodge come to our meetings because they have to, and some don't even live up to that obligation.
So how can we change?
Another lodge officer, around the same time as the question was asked of me by the new brother, called me with the identical question. He said our lodge was in dire need of fun outside of lodge. This other officer is the only officer I have met up with outside of lodge on our own time, which says a lot. His idea was to get some kind of get together organised at a restaurant or bar for the purpose of planning a fun activity between the brothers. We both agreed that if something wasn't done very soon we would start to loose all of the new brothers we have gained this year. It has already begun. Out of the five new MM's we raised before summer only two have come back since, and only one regularly. It may be too late.
Our biggest problem is that the one who is supposed to lead us does not and has not. The title was what he wanted not the role. This is the biggest problem of the progressive officer line, not everyone can effectively lead but as long as they are on the ladder they will reach the top. My lodge unfortunately has not the participation required to reject the progressive line so it is what we have to live with it. Has anyone who reads this blog been in a similar situation and overcome it? Should someone lead from another cardinal direction? What does your lodge do for fun?
P.S. I want to give a huge thanks to Bro. Chris Hodapp for the great speech he gave here in my state and a certain Right Worshipful Brother who posted it to our G.L's Website so people like me who could not attend, could still receive the light spread by our famous brother, and most of all, to my readers who helped me get back on track and for being patient as all I have been doing here as of late is bitching and complaining.