Monday, February 27, 2012

GL of MN 2012 Membership Seminar

I've been invited to be one of the speakers at this year's membership seminar on this Saturday, March 3rd at the Scottish Rite Temple in Minneapolis. The focus of the talk is on the Millennial generation. The seminar will begin at 10 am with a 9 am check in time.

From the January-February 2012 issue of the Minnesota Mason:

The Grand Lodge of Minnesota is pleased to announce the 3rd Annual Membership Seminar, March 3, 2012, from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Temple in Minneapolis. Doors open at 9 a.m. for check in.
The 2012 seminar will feature nationallyrecognized Masonic speakers and provide attendees with tools they can take back to their lodges to aid in membership. This year one of the main topics will be Freemasonry’s Growing Appeal to the Millennial Generation. The 2012 event promises to build on the success of the past two highly-rated membership seminars.
Space is limited, and RSVPs are required by February 15th. Cost is only $10 per person (lunch included). 
Please delegate two members from your lodge to take part in this event (additional members may attend if they wish). Payment can be made by either sending a check to the Grand Lodge office (c/o Grand Lodge Membership Committee) or at the door on March 3rd. 
Additional information will be sent to your lodge secretary shortly or on Facebook at “MN Grand Lodge Membership Committee.”

From what I've heard, the two keynote speakers will be PGM Robert Conley of the GL of MI and Jon Burgess. This seminar has grown in popularity over the last two or three years and has been extremely helpful with improving constituent lodge membership committees. All lodges in the state should send delegates because the information is that good.

If you're wanting to attend, you better let the Grand Secretary know now as space will be extremely tight.

I hope to see you at the SR Temple in Minneapolis on Saturday.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Why Won't They Just Grow Up"

Expect Delays

The Atlantic Monthly had a very interesting feature today about the Millennial generation, in particular, how the recession has affected us and our push into adulthood. In "Adulthood, Delayed: What Has the Recession Done to Millennials?", Derek Thompson delves into many issues revolving around Millennials not "growing up."

What makes Generation Y different from all other generations? They're getting married later. They're having babies later. They're buying fewer homes, and living with their parents. Are they scared of adulthood? Maybe. Culture is complicated, and there are plenty of factors outside of the Great Recession that are shaping Millennials' conception of adulthood and family life. But it certainly seems like the story begins with economics.

I wondered, as I read this article, how this will affect a man in his twenties and his view of the Craft. My supposition is that if Millennials are willing to put off families, homes, and other guide posts of adulthood, they will put off joining Freemasonry as well.

This is going to be a challenge for lodges. How will we attract but more importantly, impact the lives of young adult men? What will Freemasonry provide and what impact will my generation have on Freemasonry?

I remember a talk given by WBro. Robert Davis of Oklahoma at the Philalethes Society Annual Feast and Symposium in Minneapolis in 2010. He discussed generational differences and Masonry's relationship to them. I took away from that presentation this point on Millennials, which I completely agree with, Generation Y is an extremely social group that craves knowledge. With this change in economic possibilities, we may be seeing a new need arising.

This extreme downturn has had a major effect on young men. They are lacking support in making that next step in manhood. That is what Freemasonry could provide. We offer growth, a chance to better our selves and others, and to find meaning.

Sorry if I'm sounding like Robert Bly. But in this new economic reality, I, like many men my age, feel that meaning has been lost. It's not so much a loss of innocence as much as a loss of context. Our actions seem to mean nothing. We are in Limbo, waiting to see if our collective sins have been redeemed. There are many places we can turn, some good, some bad. How our lodges perform their labors will be the key to it being necessary for the spirtual growth of our newest Masons..

I have a beautiful wife, a crazy fun son, and a house. (it's not big but it has four walls, so technically, it qualifies.) I'm not like this but I was. My wife and I took years to get married and have just now started having kids. It took us awhile to get a house. We are delayed. Yet, through it all, we've made it. My adult life seems to have finally started after many sputters and starts. I can thank my family, friends, and Freemasonry for these things.

It's been a rough few years. I've seen friends wait in the wings for their time in the spotlight. We've been watching and waiting. Yet, for me, Freemasonry is a key to unlock my potential, particularly in these dark days. It's a place to focus on making my ashlar smooth. I owe a lot to the Fraternity. It isn't the only place that I've found context but it does provide one landmark in my life.

What do you think of delayed adulthood? How has it impacted your lodge? Please leave a comment.

Justa Mason at the Just a Mason blog has made a great response, or should I say, a conclusion to this post. Go check it out now.