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touchA Woman's Touch
by Deb Phillips

What is tradition? Merriam-Webster defines it as "an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action or behavior." In our everyday lives, we are faced with tradition in many places - home, work, church and organizations, including our Masonic family - often with the explanation, "that's the way we've always done it." But does that make tradition right? Is tradition always guiding us to advancement for the future?

In our own families, traditions guide our memories--maybe a weekly game night, an annual pilgrimage to the beach, or generations of family members getting together one day a year to cook and can a special family sauce or bake holiday cookies.

As we grow older, we consider our own memories created by traditions, and try to decide what traditions we would like to establish for our children and grandchildren . . . something that says, "this is special and unique to our family."

touchConsider our Masonic family organizations--we need to look in both directions . . . back at tradition, and ahead for the future generations of members. Only by doing so can we preserve what is important--generous charitable endeavors and fellowship and friendship with those who share common values--while making the changes needed to keep pace with society and guarantee the place of our organizations in the future. Bylaws can be changed without changing principles.

The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania took a huge step into the future in October with the Man to Mason One-Day Adventure. By trying something new, Pennsylvania Freemasonry welcomed many new members who may have found it difficult to receive their degrees in the traditional manner.

As we draw closer to the holidays and a new year, let each of us give ourselves to listening to new ideas, and resolve to receive those ideas with an open mind. Only then can we truly look with pride and confidence in both directions.

Start a new family tradition this holiday season, looking in "both directions"--during a family get-together start a journal, with each person writing something they were thankful for in the present year, and a hope or goal for the coming year. This journal will chronicle growing families, growing children mastering handwriting, as well as achievements and accomplishments, perpetuating pride and confidence in those things that your family values.

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