Understanding misunderstandings

Don’s Diary

It just seems self evident to me that most people would want to live a quite, happy life, free of the stress of difficult personal relationships. The problem is that not all of us seem to cope with “understanding misunderstandings”.

I am now not referring to Freemasons, but most men that I know – I am talking about real men, yes – I mean fair-dinkum Aussie men, are usually able to sort out personal differences quickly and amicably. We do not have a history of generations of family enmity and religious prejudice. We do not have class immobility and servility. A lack of integrity on the part of one, or both, of the parties will make it almost impossible, particularly if this involves adverse behaviour to one’s near and dear relatives and connections or against the State. Another is some hidden motive involving greed, ambition and those sorts of traits. As Freemasons, we inculcate the importance of integrity from the very beginning and rectitude is essential to the code of our conduct. Therefore, Freemasons who are real men as I have put it, real fair-dinkum Aussie men (and I do not know any who are not), should be able to sort out their differences quickly

We are told that we have the hunters and the foragers, and the men are the hunters. One can usually forage individually but it is more difficult to hunt. There are those who beat the bush and find the hides and those who go for the kill. Hunters of old needed to work as a team and cooperatively get on with each other – to understand misunderstandings. So perhaps it is in the genes of real men.

In the politically correct world that some are advocating, both sexes are said to be the same. But I have found that most men have a status and an ego that they like to preserve and it needs to managed. Pride if you like, or even an insecurity. Anybody smart knows that there is always a way around this – no direct criticism, particularly in front of others. Start by believing that the man is honourable and that his intentions are good. Meet him and look him in the eye. Do not gossip. Be prepared to demonstrate some humility, say you are sorry and accept responsibility. Focus on the real objective (the “prey”). Involve all members of the hunting party in the plan. Conduct potentially difficult discussions after something good has been achieved together (the “hunt”) and ideally after a good evening meal (after the “hunt”) when the adrenalin is low. Put suggestions in the form of a parable or story even if you have to make it up. Always try to keep communications open. And dare I offer advice to women - a boy really never completely grows up, and a real fair-dinkum Aussie man wants a mate, not just a wife, and especially loyalty and trust from her.

The system of Craft Freemasonry equips us well to deal with understanding misunderstandings. However, there are a few lines from a Charge in another masonic ritual that are really important in dealing with misunderstandings:

“…to live always in a spiritual bond of peace and friendship……neither to be dissolved by time nor broken by slight offences..”.

Let us therefore, to continue as they say, to be happy and communicate happiness to others.

Fraternal best wishes to all