It has been two weeks since John attended Jack’s EA degree and asked permission to mentor him. John has been busy with work but set aside time to assemble the materials that he will use to begin Jack’s Masonic education.
John will use his Lodge’s Masonic personal development template and manual entitled Becoming Masonry.This manual was developed to be used after the Entered Apprentice degree to help a Brother affirm and assess his beliefs, write a personal values and mission statement and then develop a comprehensive personal development plan that the Brother will follow. This plan will include goals, strategies, and specific action plans for five areas of his life; personal, relationships, Masonic, professional and community.
As Jack progresses through the Fellowcraft and Mason Mason degrees, John will provide assistance in understanding the lessons presented and then integrate them into Jack’s life plan.
Jack had agreed to meet John for breakfast at a local restaurant to map out a plan for Jack’s Masonic education. Jack wasn’t too sure what all they would discuss so he had asked his Uncle Ted what to expect. Ted told him that all they were going to do was begin working on the Entered Apprentice exam that Jack would have to present in Lodge.
John was waiting when Jack arrived at the restaurant. Jack saw him sitting in a booth in the back corner of the dining room. At first Jack thought it odd that he was the only person in that area, then he remembered what his Uncle told him the purpose of the meeting was, so he assumed that John was there so no one could hear their conversation about the “Masonic Secrets” he was about to hear.
They both greeted each other, the waitress came and took their breakfast orders and then John looked at Jack and said, “Jack, what is your plan for your life?” Jack didn’t know what to say. He hadn’t been expecting that question at all. Matter of fact no one had ever asked him that.
Finally Jack was able to mumble, “well, ugh, I don’t know what you mean.”
John knew from his experiences with other new Brothers that this was a typical response. So he said, “Jack, I know you’re just 23, but I’m sure you’ve thought something about your future; haven’t you?”
“Well sure,” Jack said, “I hope to have a lot of friends, be married someday, and have a successful career doing something I love to do.”
“So you do have plan,” said John.
“Well sure, I guess I do; maybe right now I would call it a few dreams,” Jack replied.
“You are right Jack, because that’s just what they are; dreams, just dreams,” mused John. John let his words sink in a bit with Jack and then asked, “Jack why do think we are meeting here today?”
“Well, I wasn’t sure what we would talk about so I asked Uncle Ted and he told me we were going to work on the EA exam I have to take; that’s right isn’t it?”
“That’s right, it’s partly the reason,” replied John. “Jack have you heard the phrase Masonry takes good men and makes them better?”
“Sure, my Uncle Ted told me that’s Masonry’s purpose.”
“Did Ted tell you how Masonry makes you a better man?”
“Sure, he said that Masonry consists of three degrees and each one teaches different lessons that a Mason can use in his life,” Jack was proud of himself that he remembered but beyond knowing what his Uncle told him he didn’t have a clue how he would use the lessons in his life. Matter of fact, thinking back to the Entered Apprentice degree he just experienced, he didn’t have a clue what the lessons were he had just been taught.
“So, let me recap our conversation so you can get to work. You have some dreams for your life but not a definite plan to accomplish them, you know that Masonry is supposed to make you a better man, and it does that by teaching you lessons in three degrees you can use in your life. Does that pretty much sum it up?” Jack nodded that it did.
“Let me ask you one final question Jack; what lessons did you learn in the Entered Apprentice degree?”
Just like the first question John had asked, Jack had no immediate answer. He remembered some things about the degree but not enough to understand what happened, let alone know what lessons had been conveyed. John knew what Jack was thinking because he had asked the question many times to new Brothers and recognized the somewhat panicked look he generally received.
“Look Jack, I know you’re probably thinking that you just flunked your first test as an Entered Apprentice. Don’t worry that’s not the case at all. I wanted to impress upon you that the degrees of Masonry are presented to you and then to understand their meaning you need to study them. That’s where I come in; my job is to help you do that.”
“Are you busy next Tuesday evening?” asked John. Jack said he wasn’t and John went on, “Good. I want you to experience the Entered Apprentice degree again; this time at my Lodge with my guidance. Here is a fact sheet with some of the key lessons presented in the degree and a series of questions that I will be asking you to answer once you have seen the degree again.”
“Our Lodge begins here in the banquet room at 6:00pm. I want you to be my guest for dinner, meet some of the Brethren of my Lodge and then we will move to the Lodge and witness the bringing first light to a candidate. After the degree we will talk briefly about a meeting time for your next step in your Masonic education. Oh, by the way, the dress is coat and tie.”
Jack left the restaurant wondering if he could concentrate on work now. John’s questions had surprised him. A plan for his life; what did Masonry have to do with that? As he walked to his car he glanced at the sheet John had given him. A lot of probing questions, many of them Jack had never asked himself before. Then he remembered that John had never said a word about the stuff he had to memorize. Jack pulled out his mobile phone and made a note in the folder he created called “Masonry.” He would ask John Tuesday.
Next: Jack learns the lessons of the EA degree