Grand Master’s Message – November 2023

     How many of you have started watching University of Wisconsin Women’s Volleyball? Maybe there is a renewed interest in U.W. Women’s hockey. We all like to follow a winner. We want to be part of something good. It is easy to jump on the band wagon. Today Wisconsin Freemasonry is having men knock on our doors wanting to join. They are coming to join something they see doing good in their communities. They want to be part of what we are. They want to join something they can be proud of.

     Lodges are doing more work outside of lodge buildings than ever before. The community is watching the light of Freemasonry change the world. Watching a light stand against an oppressive darkness. We have been caught doing good. AEDs, FSTs, State Patrol jump bags all life saving programs. Masons also work to help change lives. Shriners helping children and advancing research in burn treatment, cleft palates, and other medical needs along with their famous orthopedics.

     The three Children’s Dyslexia Centers around the state don’t just change the life of a child but change the life of that child as an adult. Many studies suggest that dyslexia affects 1 in 5 people in the United States. Today, 48-62% of all people in prison can be diagnosed with dyslexia. Dyslexic adults have a 48% higher rate of suicide than the population at large. One study found that 89% of suicide notes contain dyslexic type errors. One study showed that 52% of young homeless adults are dyslexic. Drug and alcohol use is also out of proportion with the general public.

     How often do you read something? We tend to think of reading as books and magazines. In reality you read things thousands of times a day. Text messages, bumper stickers, recipes, price tags, street signs, package labels are all read. Almost everything on a computer or tablet needs to be read. Even just the contacts section of a smart phone needs to be read. By teaching a child to read you qualify an adult for a job, or the ability to drive, or read a bus route. By teaching a dyslexic child to read you change the odds. By teaching a dyslexic to read you make the world a better place and society stronger.

     On a personal note, I know what it is like to struggle to read and watch your classmates soar on past. The frustration, anger, and lack of self-worth all set in. In my case the problem was discovered and special classes/tutoring meant that within a few years I was now reading above grade level. The two women who tutored me changed dramatically the adult I would become. They lessened the failures and multiplied the success. This year’s Grand Master’s Appeal is for the Scottish Rite Children’s Dyslexia Centers. The three centers found in Milwaukee, Madison, and EauClaire/Superior help many children each year to reach their full potential as adults. Each center has a waiting list of people needing help. It costs approximately $5000 per student to have this help. All is given at no cost to the student or the parent. Masons, Scottish Rite Masons have been changing the world one person, one reader at a time. The funds raised through Acts of Kindness will be split between the three centers. $5000 to change a life. Let us see how big a change we can make.

     This month, November, sees several important dates. November 11 is Veteran’s Day. Remember those who have served this great nation and protected our freedoms. Remember there are countries where Freemasonry is illegal punishable by prison time or death. Thanksgiving a time to honor the creator for all the rich blessings he has bestowed. For the deer hunters my wishes for a safe and successful hunt as you enjoy creation and old traditions.

     The light of Freemasonry is burning bright. Let us keep illuminating the darkness. The darkness of ignorance and want, trumped by the lamp of knowledge and the light of kindness. Keep it going my Brothers we are part of something great. On Wisconsin Volleyball and hockey! On Wisconsin Freemasonry. Let’s get to work my brothers.