Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

Rick Boyles is not only a Past Grand Master of California, but he is one of three founders of DMC, and he currently serves as Chair of the Grand Lodge Dedicated Members for Change Committee. As such, he has written a number of articles for this DMC Newsletter, focused primarily on the present and the future of our Order.

Below is another article by Rick which I think you will find interesting and instructive.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

Eyes on the Prize

There’s no shortage of ideas in the Odd Fellow Universe. And, logically, no idea is by itself incorrect. What works for one person or lodge may not work for the next one. It is indicative of human nature to erroneously assume one can determine when one idea is acceptable and one is not. The point to growth is to encourage freedom of thought and movement. The first thing one may notice in a failing lodge is the absence of creativity, the cessation of unfettered movement, the need for those few still involved to assert complete and strangling control. If all we do at a lodge is to mutter this or that won’t work we are in effect cutting off our own air supply. If we really want to encourage growth, we need to have faith in our own members.

Oftentimes there can be animosity on a basic level. Some lodges can remain similar for a decade or longer. Many of us become comfortable with those we know, and uncomfortable with anyone new. But this is a mistake. We must learn to welcome outsiders. The lodges that have encountered success have opened their doors to the outside world. Growth seldom occurs in darkness. With new members comes new ideas, varied interests, interaction with the outside world, and a message of hopeful growth.

What is the answer for your lodge? Only you can answer that. But I have heard a number of intriguing ideas for spiking interest and promoting growth. Some members think that the old ideas, mannerisms, and costumes can be retooled for today. Others think modernization is the key. These ideas need not be in conflict. Certainly, no one disputes that times have changed. We can’t return to horse and buggy times, but if we can use some of the feelings and emotions of that grand time, all the more power to us all. I personally admire some of our historical past, but I don’t think that alone will help recoup the losses we have encountered down through the years. We need to look at the world outside. I am a great fan of the Volcano Lodge, and the candlelit chandeliers, but it would be tough to power up my smart-phone with candlepower, so history is idyllic from a given distance, but also only for a short time. I do agree those times from afar seem almost like paradise, but they were also brutal times, where our children’s home really did house orphans en masse, and where the average life span was 40 years of age. I think each of us should be respectful of our past and realize that the present has its wonders as well.

So, Grand Lodge Sessions are quickly approaching, and all of us are ready to debate ideas, but let us not forget that our goal should be shared throughout our order, which is to encourage growth, happily exchange ideas for our future, and learn to respect each other as we all deserve. In my mind, what attracts outsiders most is a happy welcoming group open to all ideas, dreams, and unafraid of the future since it would ideally welcome us all.

In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles

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