Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
A person born in 1985 is 30 years old today. A person born in 1990 is 25 years old today. And a person born in 1995 is 20 years old today. Taking this dateline one step further, a person born in 2000 is 15 years old today and next year will be old enough to join an Odd Fellows Lodge.
Men and women born in the 1980’s, 1990’s and now into the 2000’s certainly can and should share our Order’s most basic tenets of Friendship, Love and Truth. But in many other respects, these men and women are born into a new age. When I was a child, I remember the introduction of television sets – huge pieces of furniture with programming on only 3 channels and only during certain hours of the day. I also remember the large telephone that attached to the wall with a party line that connected 5 or 6 families. And I remember 15 cent burgers and 19 cent gasoline. Times were simpler and certainly different. The young men and women of today live in a far different era – much more complex and much faster.
The sooner we, in Odd Fellows, realize that, the better. We cannot live in a 1940’s time warp and expect to attract men and women of the 21st Century.
Past Grand Master Rick Boyles addresses this very issue, in his article, below.
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California
Fix Your Clocks…
During my travels as Grand Master, I found that too many lodges have never moved forward. While retro may be “in”, that does not mean that we should ignore today’s world. Today’s world is replete with cell-phones, the Internet, computers in-ever diminishing size with ever-growing capabilities, self-driven automobiles, and many other wonders of the modern world. One of the main reasons we are not gaining members quickly is because many of us still ignore the passage of time. On the other hand, if you look at many of the growing lodges you will see the following:
1) An active Internet presence, a lodge website, Facebook site or other method with which to contact their members and reach out to the public.
2) The circulation of important info lodge-wide. While the minutes must be written and saved, it’s also informative to give each member a copy – and that can be done via e-mail. Treasurer’s reports, minutes, other lodge info doesn’t only inform the members but alleviates any feelings of being left out. Issues in lodges often arise because the members aren’t aware of something.
3) Active lodges serve dinner and refreshments. If your lodge can’t afford dinner or refreshments, you need critical care. One of the basic reasons our membership has become so depleted is because members feel ignored. Members often have to rush to a lodge meeting – if no refreshments are served, why exactly are they attending? For the scintillating conversation? To be privy to dry minutes and the treasurer’s report? It’s time to fix our clocks.
4) Arrive early, stay late… (The opposite of many member’s modus operandi which is arrive late, leave early.)… Think of it this way – Prospective member Bob arrives at your lodge at 6pm, your lodge meeting starts at 7pm, but all your members show up at a quarter to 7 or right at meeting time. What does Bob do? Active lodges roll out the red carpet for Bob and all prospective members. Inactive lodges force Bob to wait in the anteroom or even worse, outside the lodge environs. To get and retain new members, we must hug the new members with our collective arms. No prospective member should be left sitting alone.
5) Active lodges have fun. This may seem like a simple statement but in some lodges, the members are at each other’s throats. No one wants to attend anything in turmoil, and sit thru arguments. This is another reason members should show up early and leave late – find a way to talk it out, clear the air, bond with each other, remember our commonalities.
6) Engage each other. Almost everyone has a special interest or interests. See if your lodge can help nurture that interest. Many people share interests. Why not share them together?
7) Smile. Also rather simple, but some have a little trouble with this. Not all of us are wealthy, but all of us can be congenial. Some have a rough normal existence; remember to be understanding of other’s shortcomings. We all have them.
If we truly want to go into infinity and beyond, as Buzz Lightyear would say, we need to act as brotherly and sisterly to outsiders as we are to our members. Those outsiders – who we hope will become insiders – are the keys to our future.
In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles