Sunday, September 3, 2017

A Brother Asks: Is Parroting a Learning or Teaching Problem?


A Brother Asks: At my last meeting of my new lodge, one of our brothers mentioned "parrot mason".  He explained these were members who were fluent with the rituals and lectures but only says them without understanding the full meaning behind the lectures and ritual. Which makes me wonder, is it a learning problem or a teaching problem?

Coach: Brother, please look up the word "telos".

Brother: An ultimate object or aim?

Coach: Yes. The problem is the perceived telos.

Brother: So what's wrong with the mission? Are Masons not understanding what masonry is all about?

Coach: Before we go there, what's a "parrot"?

Brother: Someone who repeats back what they hear, with no understanding of what they are repeating back.

Coach: Yes! Let me expand it.  The archetypical parrot mason's telos is "to memorize and give back"; not "to learn, understand and apply".

Broather: YES!  So how do we fix this?

Coach: Great question.  First you must establish and maintain a telos that's 1) clearly what you want to accomplish for everyone involved, and 2) concise toward that end.  Then you must 3) have it unwaveringly supported by all involved.

Brother: So better communication and better everything?

Coach: No. Make sure everyone involved supports a prescribed telos that actually "makes good men better" rather than only "giving it lip service and no results".

Brother: So practical application then? sorry I'm just not understanding this.

Coach: You asked: is it a learning problem or a teaching problem. I'm telling you it's a telos problem. The parrot telos is "memorizing and giving back without understanding and application".  This only brings about more parrots.

Brother: Ah! Okay...  I get it now.

Coach: The Masonic telos is not "to parrot"; that's a Freemasonic telos. The Masonic telos is "to make good men better".  Parrots actually think parroting makes them and others better. They are mistaken.  That being said, without them, ritual performances would likely stop altogether.

Brother: Huh?

Coach: Think about it.  Parroting in and of itself is not a invaluable activity. 

Brother: What!?

Coach: Members who memorize and give back are providing an important aspect of support to the craft in that their lived out parrot telos keeps ritual performances going.  They preserve the code and hand it down to the next generation!  In this respect, they should be respected and honored for what they contribute, not for what they themselves lack.

Brother: Interesting!  I had not thought along those lines.

Coach: Good response!  So, what is the problem?

Brother: Understanding and Accepting that each member contributes in their own way and each should be honored and respected for what they choose to give.

Coach: Indeed!

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