The Cringe Factor
RWBro. Greg Goding, Past Assistant Grand Master UGLQ has now presented his address “Order in the House” in Victoria several times. This presentation has been given all over Australia, addressing issues of membership attraction and retention common to all jurisdictions
“For the past fifteen years Greg has been providing assistance to Lodges in developing practices to make them successful in contemporary society. To this end, he has developed a keen insight into what the “modern Freemason” wants and expects”
Described by our MWGM Vaughan Werner as ‘The Billy Graham of Freemasonry’ the Order in the House presentation has been much discussed by many lodges and Freemasons.
RW Bro Goding proposes that the health of all private Lodges is dependent upon five discreet areas namely:
1. perfect harmony,
2. efficient business meetings,
3. excellent ritual,
4. good festive boards and
5. elimination of the cringe factor.
Greg further proposes that "unless the 1st and 5th are in place 2, 3 & 4 can never and will never be achieved."
“The Cringe Factor,” according to RWBro. Goding, “is whatever makes you squirm in your seat or pull at your collar and look at your feet while it’s going on. It presents itself in many ways but we all know that is there and sadly we all tolerate it and have done nothing to address the problem – we put up with it but almost unanimously we will not inflict this type of behaviour on our friends and so we don’t ask them to consider joining the Craft.”
The Cringe Factor is something we all should be aware of, but some of the discussions on it seem to miss a critical point – the Cringe factor is NOT a person. It is behaviours (even if only one) which turn people off- they make us cringe. As a behaviour, which is the exact word RWBro Goding uses in the above quote, the most popular, the most charismatic and the most dedicated of us is vulnerable to displaying “The Cringe Factor”. And, critically, it is not just what we do and say, but the cringe factor is determined by the context of the behaviour and the social group and setting in which those behaviours take place – and the perception of the person observing that behaviour.
Further, the cringe factor can be bad food, dirty or smelly buildings, bad jokes, and any failure in the points 1-4 above.
Freemasonry invites us to examine our conduct and values and to adjust them to make us more successful people in all our undertakings and relationships.
I wonder if the critical and full condemnation of individuals rather than some of the behaviours they exhibit is such an action which we should adjust in ourselves?
I've looked at this several times and the points are missing one important one;
6. Self Development. (that will incorporate masonic education but needs to go beyond that).
Of course, all this is underpinned by a good plan executed by capable people.