From the Venerable Master (May, 2011)

posted May 21, 2015, 3:45 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 21, 2015, 3:46 PM ]

Hal Leister
The Merry Month of May


The month of May brings us spring rain, robins, blooming flowers and singing birds. May is a part of spring that is seen as a time of growth, renewal, and of new life (in both plants and animals) is born.  It has also given us a time to honor and express our appreciation for others. During the month, celebrations will be conducted for Teacher Appreciation Week, Mother’s Day, Armed Forces Day, and Memorial Day.
Masonic history informs us that Masons had a very influential role in the development of free primary, elementary and secondary educational systems in the United States and other countries. Masons did not seek to control education for the purpose of self- interest but favored free public education under local control. Support to our educational systems has always been provided and continues to be provided by various Masonic Organizations.
Masonic support has been provided to assure that proper educational opportunity exists for all and that teachers are the most influential people, outside of the parents, on students! The good that can be done by an excellent teacher is remarkable! All of us can look back today and remember the one or two teachers who had a profound influence on the entire direction of our lives.
Teachers are the strength of the community, the society, and the nation. A teacher must have practical knowledge, charisma, authority, and compassion. Teachers have the opportunity to mold minds and charter. Teachers are there for more than just homework, and they know more than just their subject matter. They can help students learn how to function as an adult, teach and promote leadership and build character, if the student will take the time and put forth the needed effort. Just as children must be taught to read and write, solve math problems, understand science concepts and events in history, they also must be guided in developing the qualities of character that are valued by their family and by the community in which they live.
Students must be motivated and teachers are a tremendous force to bring about that motivation. Challenges confronting teachers require high morale, drive, aspiration and professional development in order to be prepared to recognize student problems, take corrective action and regain a high degree of student motivation. Rapid recognition of student problems and appropriate corrective action and discipline ought to result in better student comprehension and fewer behavioral problems.
We as Masons greatly support and appreciate our TEACHERS!
The United States celebration of “Mother’s Day” began in 1907 when Anna Jarvis took up her Mother’s lifelong dream to have a national day to honor mothers. She handed out white carnations to members at her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia. In 1908, her mother's church acquiesced to Anna's request to hold a special Sunday service in honor of mothers - a tradition that spread the very next year to churches in 46 states. In 1912, Jarvis' efforts met with success:  West Virginia adopted an official Mother's Day; two years later, the U.S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution, signed by President Wilson, establishing a national Mother's Day emphasizing the role of women in their families.
Many Families make a special Mother's Day dinner or take Mom out to her favorite restaurant for a meal. It is a good day to let your Mom relax and let her see what a wonderful family she has. All Moms are heroes for their families and some Mons are everyone’s hero!
This is a day to honor every branch of the United States Military and all who serve in the armed forces today. It is a celebration of the power that protects us and our freedom every day. Armed Forces Day is a day to fly an American flag and to share fond feelings for the powerful force that seeks to preserve peace in the world. It is up to us—America’s citizens—to honor our military with the respect it deserves on Armed Forces Day. OUR FREEDOM, PROSPERITY AND POWER ARE UNPRECEDENTED and so is our ability to oppose and to prevail over those that seek world domination. These are the forces that protect our freedom and that freedom allows each of us the opportunity to achieve greatness and fulfillment.
Memorial Day is to honor all who have died in wars and actions taken to defend and protect the United States of America. Today, Memorial Day is celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. Also, it is customary for the president or vice-president to give a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. About 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually.
All of those that we honor on this day certainly demonstrated that masonic virtue of fortitude. Courage is the willingness to proceed, even in the face of fear, to do one’s duty even at known risks! We should all be grateful for the courage and sacrifice of those and their families that we remember on this day.
Each year on Memorial Day a National Moment of Remembrance takes place at 3:00 PM local time.

Hal Leister—Venerable Master