Why You Should Always Remain an Entered Apprentice

In preparation for a MM degree I was rehearsing my small part which, in the lecture, explains the steps on the Master’s carpet.  I began to think about the line that explains in our youth we should “…occupy our minds in the attainment of useful knowledge.” The explanation then continues to direct us to use this knowledge when reaching manhood in practicing the tenets of Masonry, so that in age,  “…we may enjoy the happy reflection consequent on a well-spent life…”

On the surface, this divides our work as Masons into three distinct parts, and one could say, “OK, I learn as an Entered Apprentice, then use what I learned as a Fellowcraft and then when I’m a Master Mason I can sit back and enjoy myself.” This naïve reasoning ignores the concept Freemasony is a learning system of morality and behavior that contemplates a Mason must be a continual student.

So, if we are to be in a constant state of knowledge acquisition, then it should follow that our mindset should always be one of an Entered Apprentice – a learner.

There is a term in Zen Buddhism which means “beginner’s mind“. It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would.

The Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki, says the following about the beginner’s mind:

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

As a Masonic leader, if you assume an attitude of a beginner and believe something can be learned from everyone you encounter, you begin to experience the power of other positive leadership qualities.

You will find yourself:

  1. Practicing Humility – My title means nothing and my Brothers are my equals
  2. Listening – I must listen to understand. If I am listening, I am learning
  3. Building Relationships – As I listen I begin to know more about my Brothers and how I can help them become better men
  4. Being a Servant – Your focus changes from looking inward to looking outward
  5. Remaining Teachable – You will look for ways to gather more and more knowledge

As an Entered Apprentice we were all placed in a particular location in the lodge room to begin our Masonic life. We must daily continue to build from there.

What will you learn today?

Have a Great Masonic Day!

10 Thoughts to Begin Any Day

  1. Character – “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – Coach John Wooden
  2. Self-Discipline – “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves; self-discipline with all of them came first.” – Harry S. Truman
  3. Commitment – “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”— Mario Andretti 
  4. Positive Attitude – “Change your thoughts and you change the world.” – Norman Vincent Peale
  5. Change – “Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower 
  6. Confidence – “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.” – Andrew Carnegie 
  7. Preparation – “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin 
  8. Focus – “Decide upon your major definite purpose in life and then organize all your activities around it.” – Brian Tracy 
  9. Perseverance – “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”— Coach Vince Lombardi
  10. Giving – “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Sir Winston Churchill

Have a Great Masonic Day!

A Guide for Daily Reflection

 

There comes a time in every effort that seemingly has been on track and progressing that momentum stalls and sometimes is lost. The little successes that were once celebrated and served as motivation cease and are replaced with setbacks.

The setbacks may not huge but are enough to cause a leader to say to himself, “why am I doing this?” Once self-doubt creeps into an effort then it can have a snowball effect and if a leader does nothing to remove it, he loses sight of his goals and sometimes just quits; either for a short while or all together.

Pastor Gordon MacDonald in his book Ordering Your Private World, calls rest “a time of looking backward.” He says we should reflect on our work and ask these questions:

  1. What does my work mean?
  2. For whom did I do this work?
  3. How well was the work done?
  4. Why did I do this?
  5. What results did I expect?
  6. What did I receive?

Leaders should always be asking these questions and if necessary “take a rest” to make sure they are answered.

Reflection should be a part of a leader’s daily routine. It allows you to evaluate and if necessary refocus or change your direction. It can be uplifting, motivational and rewarding; as well as the source of new ideas.

Reflect and have a Great Masonic Day!