Little Big Things That Matter

The “Extra Mile” has benefits that make the extra work and time worthwhile.

By: Stephen Balke

Stephen Balke Editor

I recently looked at a Brother that I have been coaching and said “You ok with me doing an experiment with your degree?” He said yes and we worked together to make invitations to his Master Mason Degree and proceeded to invite the heads of the petitionable Masonic bodies in New Mexico, the Lodges in the District, and most importantly, those who have impacted him. These invitations came from the Lodge, but he was a part of the entire process.

The invitations went out over a few days between two and three weeks before the degree. Several Brothers contacted me in response, all commenting on the idea of the invitation positively, most giving regrets that they had a previous obligation that prevented their attendance.

Previous to last year, I kept hearing about how Estancia Lodge is on its last leg and can barely make quorum. At the end of that night, after some had left, there were twenty-six Masons there welcoming Richard Hargenrater as the newest Master Mason.

33 Master Mason Degree Hargenrater

After all was said and done, we found a few things that could have made it better. 

  • More lead time would have allowed for others to make it a part of their schedule.
  • A program for ladies/family members to do would have been more inclusive (especially for travelers that brought their wives).
  • Alternates for the degree parts and more practices would have made for less “on the fly” adaptations.

In short, more time and planning would have made this an even better event.

Even with lessons learned, Brother Richard had an outstanding experience.

As a project manager, my motto quickly became “at 70% prepped, start” because in the technology field you don’t often find projects where you can plan completely, and any project that lasts longer than six months is likely to see several advances in hardware, software or industry standards – it moves that fast. The challenge is that our ritual events are treated more as a “process” than events; while this may work to provide a successful presentation in a Lodge that does it often, what happens when it’s been three years since the last time these Brothers did this degree? Then there’s the real question: after each degree, does your Candidate feel like the latest in a series, or do they say “WOW, all of those men that I have grown to know and respect have done so much – JUST FOR ME!”  

As a parent, I learned that what I said better match what I do – IN THEIR EYES – or it falls on deaf ears. This means that I must remember to seek to understand their perspective before choosing my response to any situation (still working on it, by the way). Not only that, but if I want them to think something is important, I should expect to dedicate time and effort to it, ensure my attitude toward it is positive, and cheer ANY progress (again, it’s their perspective that matters). Our Candidates – no, wait – Our Brothers deserve the same attention and consideration. Remember – Candidates are both YOUNG in the Craft and may have the added gap of having had many life experiences that have negatively changed their point of view.

Everything in Masonry takes time and effort when done to the best of our ability. Masonry teaches us to take that time and focus on Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love. Instead of figuring out how to “get it done,” would we mitigate most of our challenges by figuring out how to “make it a GREAT memory and Good event?”

A special shout to Worshipful Brother Tyler Anderson – THANK YOU for taking the time to recommend editing improvements! I learned a thing or two and we have a much better product. And, as usual to my Lady, Michele, who reviews work, provides photos, and encourages me in every effort.

Please consider sharing what you do with all of us – it may inspire greater and more activity in Masonry in NM!

We look forward to helping you share all the things you’re doing to help Masonry and your Lodge or group grow!

Artwork and images are also often downloaded from Creative Commons, royalty free.

May 2024

Download the PDF for printing and distribution (click here) New Mexico Freemason May 2024 ∴ Volume 2024 ∴ Issue 1 In this issue:   Opening

Read More »

Opening Doors in 24

Opening Doors in 24 There’s a lot to be done, but we believe in “Planning your work and working the plan.” By: Steve AlmagerGrand Master

Read More »

Planning for the Long Game

Planning for the Long Game Serious decisions require good information and consideration, we can create our future. By: Kevin FitzwaterSenior Grand Warden The Longe Range

Read More »

Lincoln Lodge 2024

Lincoln Lodge 2024 Our annual get together is coming soon! The date has been set for the Lincoln Lodge Meeting for 2024.  June 15th is

Read More »

2024 Grand Lodge is ACTIVE

2024 Grand Lodge is ACTIVE Grand Lodge Communication events. By: P. Tony ChristophersenGrand Secretary 147th Annual Communication – March 2024 It is amazing how much

Read More »
Scroll to Top