On Principled Behavior
Upstanding behavior seems to be a struggle in our society. Admittedly, I am no saint myself as none of us are, but I feel that since becoming a Mason, and more especially, since being raised to the Third Degree, I have challenged myself more often to speak less, observe more, and to strive not to offend. Even with that reminder that I am a representative of something bigger than myself, there continues to be this urge to fall back into old habits. Presently, there are several means to dive into heated disagreements and outright arguments in our society.
With the constant ability to interact with people on social media, several platforms have opened the gates to comment flippant remarks towards each other and in some cases just being outright rude towards people. It is far too easy for a person to go on social media, see something they feel as controversial/outrageous and dive down the rabbit hole of comments that exist on that thread. It’s even easier to engage with those they do not agree with, especially in a way that is often uncharacteristic outside of social media. While there have been several times where I have been the perpetrator of ill remarks, I now find myself more willing to pull from the grips of social media comment desire, often reminding myself that my negative contribution will likely not lead to anything productive. Although social media is certainly an easy forum to pass along a negative comment or incite an online argument with a stranger, it is not the only means to assert aggression in our society.
A past action that I found myself doing all too often was demonstrating my displeasure with fellow drivers. Yea, I was the guy who wasn’t afraid to flip a bird, or two, or five (depending on the extent of my travels) while driving down the road. Reflecting back, I know this behavior was never productive other than providing myself a sense of momentary relief. Now I might still say words to myself within the confines of my own vehicle, like I said I am not a saint by any means, but what I have challenged myself to do is refrain from hand gestures. Think about it, when you’re at the grocery store you don’t flip someone off or gesture wildly because they nearly hit you with their shopping cart. Well, most of us wouldn’t demonstrate irrational behavior like that. I suppose there are a few exceptions.
The point of this writing is that if we look at nearly every Master Mason, in the United States, we can find a Masonic ring on a finger, a Masonic sticker or emblem on their car, and something on their social media that might indicate a Masonic affiliation. We should be careful, Brothers, in that our actions could tarnish the legacy that our Brothers of past and present have worked so hard to achieve. There’s a meme floating around that says, “You’re somebody’s impression of Freemasonry.” Let’s think about how our actions/words leave people feeling and strive to make that feeling positive.