There is More than One Way to Be an Odd Fellow

By Ainslie Heilich, PG
Tuscola #316

This was a great 13 minute TED Talk. As Odd Fellows, I know we aren’t exactly “activists”, but it directly correlates to the charitable outreach we do. There is more than one way to be a good Odd Fellow and we should discuss that more. Especially, if you are shy, have anxiety, or are an introvert, the blanket description of being an “active member” may not fit. And that is okay.

We need members that have certain strengths that may get overlooked when simply trying to “fill the chairs”. We don’t all want to work at the Grand Lodge level and attend formal events or even hold leadership positions in the lodge that require a member to do a lot of speaking in front of groups. While it is nice to have a lot of people show up for the business meetings, I have learned from many of my Lodge family that they feel uncomfortable reading the roles out loud and it gives them a lot of anxiety, even though they know no one would judge them for messing up. Instead of twisting the arms of members like these to only participate in the traditional method of belonging to a Lodge, there are alternative ways that they can be active members and contribute to the Order in effective and valuable ways.

Luckily, our Lodge uses technology, specifically Facebook groups and messenger, to keep everyone involved and able to participate at their comfort level. We have a private Facebook group for discussing Lodge activities, organizing events, sharing information, and socializing. We then use the Facebook messenger for committees and casual group chat. This helps members who either don’t attend regular meetings or are not comfortable speaking up in Lodge with an idea to be able to share their ideas and opinions and participate in the social fellowship. Our introverted members really shine when organizing and doing the detailed work to make our events a success.

They are the ones that send out the emails and communicate with vendors, organize the raffle donations, create promotional materials, filling out/sending in forms, and more. They are doing the quiet work of the Order and it is often the most overlooked but necessary to make things happen.

I for one, am very outgoing in person around people I know, but one of my krytonites is making any type of phone calls.  It gives me a lot of anxiety and I prefer email/text/Facebook for handling business.  I love attending Lodge and other Odd Fellow functions and working in person because it continually challenges me to be better at interacting with new people in person and it helps me because everyone has a specific role to play or job to do, so it isn’t total social chaos like going to a party.  But that is just my personal role and comfort level as a member.  Everyone is different.

If you have members who don’t attend Lodge regularly, find out why, and if there is some other way they would like to take part as a member to help their Lodge family. Their answer may surprise you. By validating and empowering these members it makes your Lodge far more successful. And maybe they will be more apt to attend a meeting every so often since they are more involved and invested.

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