Don’s Diary

Do you ever get the impression that some people always see themselves as the “victim” and never see themselves as the “cause” or “reason”?

It usually starts when they are young – “..they pick on me mummy because I am skinny (or this or that)”. Then what does mummy say? Probably not asking what was happening at the time, what did their child do, what caused the problem, and so on. So when they get older (you will note that I do not say grow up), the world is still against them, everybody has difficulties with them and they still do not look at themselves.

Looking at the world trouble spots today and difficulties in Australia it seems that this “always the victim and never the cause” mentality becomes a national or if not at least an identifiable characteristic. Nobody seems to have ever told the perceived underdog that things are never one-sided and also said that they should look at themselves in a mirror. Closely associated with this victim mentality is the tendency to “shoot the messenger” – the perceived underdog does not like any advice on the matter and becomes highly critical and rejects anyone who endeavours to convey the reality of the situation. They are also likely to adopt the position of “if you not for me you are against me”, and you would have to say that this is pretty uncompromising and insular.

So how do you deal with someone who is like this? If they are just a face in the crowd and one with which you have no commercial, neighbourly or fraternal relationship just ignore them. Commercial imperatives will always overshadow these issues but do not become a repeat customer. You probably have to put up with neighbours and always remember the adage that good fences make good neighbours. Fraternal relationships create the greatest problems when we should all strive to be happy and communicate happiness to others. One can put up with it to some extent among your brethren and eventually the perceived perpetually wounded should work out that this attitude does not conduce to produce good relationships. The real problem is if someone with this sort of attitude somehow penetrates our senior ranks, especially if they unfortunately commit their hurt whinges to writing.

We all expect our leaders, and I am thinking of the office of a Worshipful Master, to be of the calibre that do not attract undue person attacks and whose behaviour decisions can easily withstand snide comments and gossip. Their community and fraternal standing should be such that anything other than the highest order of conduct and performance is expected and anything else is unbelievable. We expect our leaders to concentrate on the positives and in freemasonry it is all about brotherly love, relief and truth; everything else fades into insignificance in a very short period of time. We expect our leaders to withstand a bit of flack should it get through and just get on with the job with confidence. If they have the presence to stand high, “eye balling it” with their detractors, the latter will withdraw – they are usually gutless. What we need are the right leaders with the political capital, above reproach and presence to stand up, be counted and be positive. Mummy will not help in freemasonry nor can an amicus curio. Results will be the most telling measure of success. Adversity can make good leaders look better but make poor leaders worse.

Yours fraternally ,