Thursday, April 13, 2017

Freemasonry: A Family Tradition

I had the great pleasure last weekend of watching a friend of mine from my Lodge, John Halley, go through the Scottish Rite.  He brought his father with him.  His father had become a member of the Valley of Danville in 1971, and it was his first visit back since he'd joined.  They both had a great time, and John left a 32nd Degree Mason--like his father. 

A few days earlier, as Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL), I'd received an email from a twenty-year-old college student interested in joining our Lodge.  The reason?  His great grandfather had been a member and he wanted to be involved in our Lodge because it was part of who he was.  When he was a kid, his aunt had arranged a tour of the building with one of the members of the Lodge and it had been on his mind ever since.  So we're going to help him carry on that family tradition.

I've told this story before, but one of my first experiences visiting another Scottish Rite Valley was shortly after I'd become a 32nd Degree myself.  I visited the Valley of Indianapolis Cathedral for their reunion.  While I was standing in a hallway, somebody asked me to take a photo.  I did, of four men standing on a staircase--the youngest was the lowest, and they got older as they went up.  It was the son, the father, the grandfather, and the great-grandfather--four generations!  The youngest was there to receive his 32nd Degree that weekend and they were all there to support him.

It's very common.  We have a nephew, uncle, and grandfather--all active members of our Lodge.  Our current Master had the distinct privilege of raising his own grandson several years ago.  That was something I'll never forget.  And a few years ago, a young man was raised in my Lodge, and afterwards, his father came forward and gave him a gift--his deceased grandfathers Masonic ring.  That was also an unforgettable moment in my Lodge.

For some of us, Freemasonry is moral and ethical improvement center.  For others, it's a place to be social and make new friends.  Some enjoy the Fraternity because it gives them an opportunity to give something back to the community, and get involved in supporting worthy causes.  There's no right or wrong way to view Freemasonry.  But for many, there's an added meaning to Freemasonry--it's a family tradition.  They are following in the footsteps of their fathers, their uncles, and their grandfathers hoping to share in that common desire to become better men.

~Todd E. Creason, 33°

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