"Damascas Lodge No. 10 - Tintic Lodge No. 9 Oration" Gavin K. K. Wardrope, W. Grand Orator
Most Worshipful Grand Master, Most Worshipful Past Grand Masters, Right Worshipful Brothers, Worshipful Brothers and Brethren all, Good Evening.
I would be thankful to talk to you for the next few minutes over a matter that I feel has a great relevance to society in this day and age and what we, as Freemasons, can do to try and rectify.
I remember as a young child growing up in the East End of Glasgow not knowing then if my family was rich or poor all I know was that there were clothes on my back, food on the table and love in my heart.
Of course people say they were the good old days, no cell phones, computers or in our family's case no car. I remember my father saying the same about his family so it's just a matter of a new generation same old story.
I don't believe so. I must have been about 6 years of age and I think it was my grandparents who were visiting.
In Scotland, even to this day, if you visit anyone the first question is 'Can I get you a cup of tea?' and 'Would you like a wee cake to go with that?'
Of course there were always cream cakes, sponge cakes and raisin cakes, or as I still call it, fly cemetery cake. I remember my mother taking me aside and saying that I must not speak to anyone unless I am spoken to, that I will not get a cake until all the adults had selected theirs, that I will not be allowed to leave the table until I had been given permission and use a knife and fork and not your fingers. You know what I got to eat; now you will understand why I call it fly cemetery cake.
Can you correlate that to today's youth, I don't think so. How many times have you seen a young person holding a door open for a female, giving up their seat for a woman or heavens help us apologize for an indiscretion. As someone who deals with children up to 18 years old every day I can assure you sometimes I worry about the future. How can we expect respect from them if in most cases they do not respect themselves?
Over my Headmasters, or Principals, desk at school I remember a sign and it has lived with me for over 40 years, MANNERS MAKETH MAN.
A really easy to remember 3 worded statement easily explained.
It is a very commonly held saying in every culture found all over the world. Manners form the basis for every person's name and status in society.
Manners play a very important role and play a major part of a person's outlook. We have all I am sure seen people display extremely bad manners and conversely people display extremely good manners. Where do you think you are in this conversation?
It is of my opinion that if properly followed manners help a person to gain the respect and trust in his society. Manners are the critical steps in the ladder to success which guarantees an individual to reach a higher position in life. It also brings a sense of gratitude and well-being to an individual and gives them a chance to express themselves.
Do we not, as Freemasons, show respect to the officers of the Lodge, an elder statesman of the Lodge or a visitor to the Lodge. It should be expected that the lessons we learn in the Lodge should be taken outside and to our homes and place of work and consequently passed down to our children.
When I was Master I tried to come down from the East and thank a Brother who had made the effort to come and visit, or to a Candidate who afforded me the privilege of joining my Lodge.
When we are first initiated the first lesson we learn at the Altar is that you are told that you must always before speaking give the Due Guard and sign and not to speak until the Worshipful Master asks you to. Why? Respect of course.
The lessons we learn in this Lodge Room do not stay here when we are finished, the lessons we are all taught are life changing lessons and should be applied to our life outside this room.
Often when meeting a potential Candidate or a work colleague are you not asked what Freemasons are, and what do you do that is so special?
I am sure we would have them lining up in droves if we told them that once a month we have a Business Meeting that is so unbelievably exciting it makes you want to come back month after month.
Of course not, we tell them that Freemasonry has taught us the lessons of Brotherhood, Charity and self-improvement to name but three. These lessons being taught inside this room are continued outside.
However, a lot of times these lessons are forgotten or ignored. How many times have you seen something written, or someone act in a manner unbecoming of a Freemason? You don't have to cast your mind back too far to know what I am talking about.
It is time for the majority to stand up to the minority and say 'Enough.' The actions of the minority if left unchecked will destroy us as an Institution. If you don't believe me, think of something you may have read or heard recently by a Mason and now think of the headline on the News or in a Newspaper if it got out that that is what we all actually believe. Do you wish to be part of that? I hope not.
Before an Initiate is allowed to see or enter a Lodge room we tell him that Freemasonry is far removed from all that is trivial, selfish and ungodly, it is a beautiful system of morals veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.
Then when he is presented with a Lambskin Apron he is told, let its pure and spotless surface be to you an ever present reminder of a purity of life, a rectitude of conduct a never ending argument for higher thoughts for nobler deeds for greater achievement.
There is nothing more distressing than to see someone act in a manner which is disrespectful to the craft in general. Especially when the brother who has caused the problem is unwilling to apologize or see the errors and the distress that he has caused.
If you are in the wrong accept it graciously and do apologize. Do not criticize others work or ideas in public.
Being courteous to others will earn you respect and courtesy in return and shows that you have had a good upbringing. Manners help recognize an individual as a person of class turning one respect. Thus the term or phrase MANNERS MAKETH MAN is apt in every sense.
Brethren, always remember may the record of your life and actions be as pure and spotless as that fair emblem which was placed in your hands that night you were admitted into this Fraternity.
Most Worshipful Grand Master once again I wish to thank you for allowing me to say these few words and enjoy the rest of your Visitation.
Fraternally, Gavin KK Wardrope PM Grand Orator April 10, 2013