August 2, 2017

Goals and Plans

I remember when I was Noble Grand of my lodge. At first, I was overwhelmed with the responsibility. When things went wrong, the buck stopped with me. After a while, I became more and more comfortable working with people, making decisions, delegating tasks to others, being a leader.

I suspect a variation of this experience happens every year in nearly every lodge. But it is a bit different in every lodge since every lodge has their own personality. Every lodge has their own challenges.

As we get comfortable in our lodges, we have an opportunity to take a step back and look at who we are and what we do and what are we capable of doing. I have yet to see a lodge that is not capable of doing more; of being better Odd Fellows.

Doing more or doing better does not happen by itself. It takes effort and a willingness to act. I like to think in terms of setting goals and making plans. All of us, as individuals and as lodges, should set goals for ourselves from time to time. There are certain goals that nearly everyone and every lodge could set. How about getting members to participate more; getting members to serve in officer’s positions; doing more for our communities; attracting new members? How about doing one more event or activity this year? Try setting a one-year goal or a five-year goal. Think about where you would like your lodge to be in five years.

If you thought about it for a while, I am sure you could think of a variety of goals that would improve your Odd Fellows experience or your lodge. Ideally, lodges would invite input from their members to set goals for the lodge. One lodge held a strategic planning meeting. Another lodge had a visioning meeting. The members talked about what they wanted to get out of their lodge and Odd Fellowship and what can do for the lodge. Of course, the goals of every lodge would be unique to them. The goals would reflect the personality and interests and skills of their members. Goals that are right for one lodge may not work in another lodge.

Regardless of what goals you set, the next step is to think about what you can do to accomplish your goals. Make plans to accomplish your goals. This planning can be individual or it can be the work of your lodge. Planning and accomplishing your goals requires action. It requires doing things. It requires doing things that will interest your members in participating. It requires doing things that will make others want to be a part of your lodge.

We are part of an Order of good people seeking to go good things. But, except writing an occasional check, we do surprisingly little for our communities. One of the best feelings I have felt as an Odd Fellow is helping others in my community, whether it be doing chores for senior citizens or planting trees or working at the Food Bank or Christmas caroling.

How many of us have a lodge where just a fraction of our members participate in lodge events and activities? Think about what your lodge could do if every member participated in one more event or activity every year. Think about what satisfaction your members could receive if your lodge did one (more) activity or event for your community this yearThere is a passage in our Valediction that our community deserves our best work. . It doesn’t seem like such a big goal! The possibilities are only limited by the imaginations and interests and energy of your members.

Try this. Make a few goals that you and your lodge can achieve. Make plans together or individually to accomplish your goals. It doesn’t have to happen fast or be a huge step. Make it an opportunity to work together; to do good things together. Isn’t that what we are supposed do? Do it! And we will All Rise!

In Friendship, Love and Truth,
Dave Reed
GRAND MASTER