Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Craft Perfected! Chapter Preview: XII. Our Masonic Youth




XII.  Our Masonic Youth

 
Are we expecting too much from
our youthful Brothers?

Research reflects what our nation’s forefathers knew long ago: You cannot expect wisdom to be a principle component of youthful activities. They believed this so strongly that they incorporated this very ideal into our nation’s laws. Citizens must reach a specific age[i] before they are considered eligible to hold important governing positions. What did they know about maturity that we should know as well?
There should be no doubt in any Masterful Mason’s mind that Masonic Work transforms men toward the better. It does this by engaging their hearts and minds in activities designed to Work areas of the brain that promote improved and mature thinking. These areas are specific and Masons who engage in helping others develop should take note of these areas early on to determine this Work’s effectiveness.
One standard of effective measurement is maturity. Masonic coaches and mentors should well acquaint themselves with methods that can both develop and ascertain maturity in those they are asked to assist in Masonic Work. It might occur to those Brothers who have considered deeply the current state of the Craft that their failure to mature the Lodge weakens the Fraternity daily and causes Brothers to focus attention on superfluous matters and activities. Reviewing the division between Youth and Manhood might be a good starting point for those interested in being a force for change within the Craft.

Youth

It might surprise some people to know that adulthood does not begin between ages 18 and 21. Yes, this is considered the legal age of consent and the time when those who reach it can and do take on many adult activities and responsibilities. It is also around the time when a person is judged and held accountable as an adult. This age is also long past when participation in biological reproduction can and does occur.
The benchmarks set up by modern society as the transition point between Youth and Adulthood is not however when biological adulthood begins. Authentic adulthood in humans occurs several years later on, and in some cases, much later on, if at all.[ii]
Adulthood is dependent upon the coming to fruition of a specific section of the brain called the Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC)[iii].

Pre-Manhood

According to researchers, the PFC is the section of the human brain responsible for dividing Youth from Adulthood. The PFC is proportionally larger in humans than all other animals. It has also grown proportionally larger in relation to other portions of the human brain over the time humans have purported to have existed on earth. In humans and on average, the PFC continues to grow into the mid-twenties.
The characteristics[iv] of an undeveloped PFC are many. Here are just a few:

·      Lack of foresight
·      Unfocused attention
·      Short attention span
·      Inappropriate behavior
·      Little to no impulse control
·      Cannot self-assess realistically
·      Little to no delayed gratification
·      Strategies and planning are ill-formed
·      Lack of weighing behavioral consequences
·      Disorganized thinking and problem solving
·      Little to no modulation of intense emotions
·      Behavior doesn’t adjust as situations change
·      Inappropriate risk-taking and dangerous behavior
·      Inability to consider the future and make predictions
·      Short-term rewards take precedence over long-term goals
·      Inability to consider multiple streams of complex and challenging information 

These are but a few of the many distinguishing characteristics that help identify males who have further growth required of their PFC before reaching manhood. It benefits all coaches and mentors to recognize these characteristics as they support our next generation of males through their Masonic development.

Manhood

Research the PFC enough and you’ll learn that it does many functions important to our Masonic path. It is responsible for planning, decision-making, inhibition, social interaction, self-awareness, long-term memory formation, and understanding other people. Included in this, the PFC also watches, supervises, guides, directs and focuses behavior! When mature, it both knows and exhibits wisdom.
If it has not become clear yet, the PFC is responsible for the facilitation of Executive Functions characteristic of mature males. These functions include but are not limited to, Time Management, Judgment, Impulse Control, Planning, Organization, and Critical Thinking. Furthermore, every last one of these Executive Functions is what Masons should find exemplified by at least one of our first three Grand Masters.

What to Do

What do coaches or mentors do with this information? First on the list of things to do should be improving awareness of the telltale characteristics of immaturity. Some are more obvious than others but they are all important to know as you work with others who depend upon your support and guidance.
Once you can recognize and identify specific characteristics, work toward becoming willing to share your awareness with those with whom you work. This does not mean you should though. It merely means that you are positioning yourself to properly assist those current and future Brothers who show signs that they are indeed ready to take steps along the Masonic path and are ready to hear what you observe about their behavior that can help them.

Points to Perpend:

1)   Should Manhood be determined by maturity and not chronological age?
2)   Is the Craft allowing Brothers to pass long before these males have yet to achieve biological manhood?
3)   Have you ever allowed a man to enter into Freemasonry or pass from one degree to another without considering his maturity?
4)   How would you determine the Maturity of a man if asked to undertake this important endeavor?
5)   What are the realized long -term costs to the lodge when males are passed prematurely?


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[i] “In the U.S., a person must be at least 35 years of age to be President or Vice President, 30 years to be a senator, or 25 years to be a representative, as specified in the U.S. Constitution. Most states in the U.S. also have age requirements for the offices of governor, state senator, and state representative.” Source: http://definitions.uslegal.com/a/age-of-candidacy/
[ii] if one depended upon strictly upon behavior observation
[iii] De Luca, Cinzia R.; Leventer, Richard J. (2008). "Developmental trajectories of executive functions across the lifespan". In Anderson, Peter; Anderson, Vicki; Jacobs, Rani (eds.). Executive functions and the frontal lobes: a lifespan perspective. Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis. pp. 24–47.
[iv] http://www.hhs.gov/opa/familylife/tech_assistance/etraining/ adolescent_brain/Development/prefrontal_cortex/


1 comment:

Unknown said...

yes!! great book/ thanks!!