One of my major plans from the onset as Grand Master has been to support youth and encourage them to be prepared to be high-caliber leaders in the future. In order to implement my Triple E program whose banner is waving in many states and countries, I thought education would be the best tool to sharpen the mind and produce a healthy generation of youth, ever prepared to steer the boat in the tempestuous sea of life and navigate according to the ancient and accepted principles on which our fraternity was founded.
One aspect which makes us proud as Masons is that we have existed from time immemorial, through the ages, with impressive Ancient Landmarks which we strive to preserve and protect without distortion or major deviation. The rationale behind this philosophy is to safeguard our fraternity's unique, distinctive, and august history, thus enriching its character to determine our present as well as our future presence in society and in the world.
Continuity is crucial in every institution – most especially, in this of ours -- and should be addressed in order to ensure its survival and healthy operation. The legacy that we have inherited from our ancestors and with which we have been entrusted should be very carefully preserved so as to ensure that we transmit it unsullied through to posterity.
For many outside observers, Freemasons are groups of retired people who get together because they are bored. Some who are removed from the Craft and see it at a distance even view some lodges as constituted of geriatric members who hold a symbolic sword that they can barely lift in their feeble hands.
Let us here pause and reflect: Would you join such a group? If you were a member of such a club, would you be excited to attend its meetings, especially when overwhelmed with obligations during days of toil and nights of worry to make ends meet?
The view of Masonic bodies as clubs of doddering old men is hardly the reality, especially in the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia. Our membership is diverse in terms of national origin, professional background, and age.
At the same time, we must be ever vigilant against complacency with our current membership and ever strive to inject young blood in our lodges in order to make Freemasonry bloom. We must ask ourselves how much emphasis we put on and how much attention we give to our younger members in order to encourage them to play a major role in our decisions.
A Masonic lodge which has young officers is suggestive of success. A lodge whose members are full of energy and excitement is the kind that we may count on, both now and in the future.
It is a delight to see a young man occupying the Oriental Chair. It is promising to watch young people learning the ritual and performing on the stage of our future. It is fulfilling to watch new Masons advance through the chair in impressive gradations – and to maturity in the DeMolay, Rainbow, and Job’s Daughters youth orders.
I had a chance to witness the strength of DeMolay this summer firsthand, having the honor and pleasure to travel to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to enjoy the ceremonial DeMolay event at the University of Salisbury, organized by executive officer Carl Michel on Sunday, July 14, 2019. I offer here my congratulations to Br. Rafael Rodriguez IV in being elected State Master Councilor of Maryland! In Virginia Bethels and Assemblies, I have enjoyed mingling with the Job’s Daughters and Rainbow Girls at who enhance and our an integral part of our Masonic bodies. I was and remain very impressed with the manner with which young people in these organizations absorb the ritual and conduct themselves with poise on the stage.
I was quite distraught to see DeMolay fading from our jurisdiction, and I promised to assist in bringing it back to the Nation’s Capital. I believe in it so strongly that I want one of my twin boys, Adrian, to join as soon as it is reestablished. I am confident that DeMolay will be soon reestablished with the help and advice of our Senior Grand Warden RWB Alan Gordon, who is diligently paving the way to this end.
If our goal is to make exemplary new Masons, then the time to engage this mission is now! Young people prove a fertile ground for success. In your lodge, please do not be afraid to pass the baton to those who have the will and energy to take on responsibilities if they are prepared to maintain the continuity of what our Masonic forefathers have designed. Allow them to make mistakes a few times in order to learn and eventually soar. Do not discourage them if they do not follow the some old patterns and ways adopted for decades and centuries, as long as they do not violate the code of ethics or the Landmarks of the order.
Now, my brethren, it is up to you how to set the goals of your lodge and recruit committed young people who will perform under your direction, but without your clipping their wings. Show them the way -- and then watch as eternal Freemasonry blooms for future generations!