It is the time of year for both Scouting and Freemasonry to honour those who have given great service to those organisations. I want to congratulate those receiving honours and awards, as well as reflect on how important it is to recognise those who work so hard for our good causes.
But for Covid-19, yesterday would have been the Annual Meeting for the Mark Province of Derbyshire. For a number of years I organised this meeting. One of the greatest pleasures I had was sending letters to the recipients of those being appointed to or promoted in Provincial grand rank. Most recipients were delighted and many were surprised. The pleasure they experienced when they processed to have their honour conferred lifted everyone at the meeting.
Just occasionally some were disappointed. Often these were the ones who spoke of “expecting promotion.” I think they missed the point. No one has a right to an honour. They are not given for long service and are not automatic. They are given for good service, especially that “over and above the norm”, and are in the gift and prerogative of the fount of honour, whether that be the head of a Masonic Order, the Chief Scout or, in the case of national honours, The Queen. To expect them is presumptuous and ultimately leads to disappointment.
Over the years I have been fortunate to have received many Scouting and Masonic honours and awards. I have been pleased, in fact delighted, in every case, largely because they were unexpected. In fact, in all but one instance they came as a complete surprise. They told me that my work is seen and valued. The effect has been a renewed and even deeper sense of commitment. I have never undertaken any work to get an honour but having been honoured I have tended to give more, so that I may be worthy of the honour.
Today I wrote a letter in support of a nomination for a Queen’s honour for a Freemason who has given many years of great service to Scouting and his community. In my opinion, he deserves wider recognition.
A little while ago someone must have taken the time to nominate me for a Masonic honour. I don’t know who it was and probably never shall. However, on Wednesday I shall receive a Masonic promotion that I never expected would come my way.
This came as a complete surprise and told me that my work (I presume my efforts in relation to membership development) is seen and is valued. That the promotion came from “the centre” means a great deal to me. The response from those who know of my work has been overwhelming and deeply humbling. By the simple act of nominating me, someone (supported of course by those who approved the nomination) has given me a great deal of pleasure and encouraged me to do even more.
So, if you see someone doing good work “over and above the norm”, please take a little time to thank them or, better still, to nominate them for an honour. It is a great way to recognise people and to let them know they are appreciated.
This weekend would have been the National Scout Service at Windsor Castle, to which Queen’s Scouts and recipients of Scouting’s highest honours and awards are invited to attend. This Wednesday and Thursday would have been the Investiture Meetings of United Grand Lodge of England and Supreme Grand Chapter. For the second year running, so many people are missing the big celebration of their awards and honours.
Congratulations to all those Scouts and adult members of Scouting honoured this week by the Chief Scout. Congratulations also to those due to receive appointments to or promotion in grand rank from the Grand Master and First Grand Principal in United Grand Lodge or Supreme Grand Chapter. I hope that you can celebrate, despite not being able to enjoy the big occasion. I know I shall be doing so!
Lastly, a sincere thank you to the unknown Brother who nominated me for my honour. You really don’t know how happy you, by your thoughtful act, have made me.
Onwards and upwards!