Monday, May 18, 2009
Mentorship Part 2: Who Should Be a Mentor?
Mentorship programs rise and fall not on the leadership or lack of leadership of the Lodge but on the mentor. Mentors are the first line in bringing men into Masonic Light. Therefore, it is important to determine who should be a Mentor and who should not.
The method by which I choose Mentors is that I actually have two Mentors for the petitioner. Of course, if a man is brought to our Lodge by a brother in it, that man should serve as the Mentor. Why? He has a connection to both the Lodge and the petitioner. We have to foster and hopeful grow that connection for the petitioner and make him an important fixture within our Lodge. But what do we do when the man who is joining does not have a connection to the Lodge? This is where my two Mentor system becomes integral to the success of my Lodge.
The first Mentor should be a relatively new brother. Why a “young” (newly made Master) Mason? The energy level of the young Mason is electric. They have just been through the degrees and have seen just how good Masonry can be. We have to capture that lightening and pass it off to the next generations of Masons. Masonry is a progressive Science and it moves fast, which means that we have to be willing to hop on for the ride. Therefore, I always look for the young, excited brother to serve as Mentor.
The second Mentor should an older member of the Lodge. It could be said that this should be a Past Master but I don’t believe that is actually a necessary qualification. What the secondary Mentor should be is able to answer questions about Masonry that the primary Mentor could not. The secondary Mentor is the backstop for the primary Mentor, helping the primary Mentor just as much as he does for the new candidate.
What does the dual Mentor program do that other Mentor programs don’t? It allows both youth and experience to exist to guide our new brother. Now, I realize this might not be effective in all Lodges, especially Lodges that have many candidates in degree classes. In this case, it might be better to have a Mentor coordinator helping each individual Mentor for their respective candidate. However, if your Lodge raise classes of four or fewer, this program can be very worthwhile.
Also, this program can help to bring both the new brother and the old brother back into the Lodge giving both of them incentives to become active again in Lodge life. We see it many times. The new brother learns quickly that Lodge life may not be all that it’s cracked up to be (that is a Lodge Leadership problem which will be covered at a later date). The new brother may find other avenues to spend their time away from the Lodge until they disappear like so many do in America. Getting them involved early will ensure that they become a good attentive brother among us. The old brother may have gotten tired or have found other avenues to spend their time, in the Rites, in Star or in Shrine. We have the ability to encourage three different brothers in three very different stages to stay connected with the Lodge. Hopefully, more Lodges will continue to focus on choosing good Mentors to help new brothers become acclimated to their new life.
The major reason for this program is to create an unbreakable chain between the Mentor and the Mentee. This unbreakable chain should remain after the Mentorship is up. This, in turn, will provide some help should the Mentor not know an answer. The goal is that the Manatee, hmph, I mean the Mentee, will become the Mentor. This continuing the cycle.
Next week: What should a Mentor program look like?