Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
At any given time in our history, there are always three generations of adults who are alive. Let me explain the significance of this fact as it relates to fraternal orders, and to Odd Fellows in particular.
A “generation” is typically viewed as a period of time covering up to 25 years. Excluding children, this means that at any given moment in time, one generation covers an age range of about 18 to 43, a second age range of about 44 to 69, and a third age range of about 70 and above.
Viewed in this light, a healthy Odd Fellows Lodge that is prepared to sustain itself into the future would have members in each of the three generations.
On the other hand, if a Lodge only has members in the third generation, it may very well be a comfortable and enjoyable Lodge to its third generation members – but it won’t last. Such a Lodge simply cannot sustain itself into the future. Those 70+ year-old members in ten years will be 80+ year-old members, and those members who are 80 will be 90+ year-old members, etc. You get the point. The present may be a happy time for such a Lodge. But there is no future for it.
Let’s be frank. We are mortals. If we have good genes and good luck, we may be able to celebrate our 100th birthdays. But eventually we all pass away. And if we are members of a Lodge composed of all third generation members, how in the world do we bring in members from the second generation, let alone the first generation. What potential members would be interested in joining a Lodge of septuagenarians or octogenarians?
So, it is critically important for the future viability of a Lodge that it constantly replenishes the membership rolls with men and women of all generations. And this must be a constant mission for the members of the Lodge. If a Lodge of members in their 70’s only brings in more members in their 70’s and ignores potential members in their 50’s or 30’s – the Lodge will dimish and die. The Lodge must always have a new batch of potential leaders and desk officers, and members to fulfill the various functions of the fraternity.
Inattention to this important component of fraternal life will be fatal to the Lodge and to Odd Fellowship.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Independent Order of Odd Fellows
Jurisdiction of California
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