News From The Ninth Arch

The Importance of Planning

The Importance of Planning
By Most Illustrious Companion John D. Barnes
Past Most Illustrious Grand Master and Grand Treasurer, Grand Council of New Jersey

MIC John D. Barnes
Past Most Illustrious Grand Master of New Jersey


\’The best laid schemes o\’ mice an\’ men gang aft agley.\’ -Robert Burns

My Companion:

My wife and I were just in Disney World, to see our grand-niece march with her high school band in the Electric Light Parade at the Magic Kingdom. Part of what always impresses me about Disney is how prepared they are for change. When the weather turns cold, sweatshirts and other warm things appear in the stores. When it rains, ponchos are on sale everywhere. When lines are short, they adjust the maze of ropes you follow to get to the rides. The time it takes to pass from the end of the line up to the actual ride is posted at the ride’s gate. The food never seems to run out, and the garbage cans always have room for more. Disney does this by doing two things: they have a whole series of passages and roads underground and they constantly check the time people will spend in line.

If you constantly check that what you are saying and doing matches the truth, you are like King Solomon. He was ready to execute his own friend for a perceived crime until he was reminded that the fault was his own. It is one thing to hold fast to the Truth, as all good Masons should, but if you lose sight of that Truth, you need to adjust yourself. Periodically, you need to review the facts of the world around you and adjust expectations. The worldly winds change constantly, and to steer a straight course you must sometimes adjust your sails. You don’t change your ship, your core ideas, but you adjust how you get to your harbor.

Those underground passages are something Disney learned from their experiences in Disneyland, their earlier endeavor. By planning ahead, they are ready for the changes in the future. Within the unseen crypts is everything they might need to meet the future’s needs. King Solomon laid away in our Secret Vault what he foresaw would be needed by mankind when he was no longer alive. If you learn from your past mistakes, you can avoid future errors. That’s a basic lesson we all learn, but sometimes we don’t learn the second half of that message.

It’s good not to repeat a mistake, like avoiding running into a closed glass door for example. But if you don’t put a warning on that door, or a decal that other people can see, you haven’t done your best to help others. Planning only for yourself, or only for your immediate family and friends, is not enough.

Mankind is your family, that Brotherhood of Man under a Fatherhood of God, and every Companion is your friend. You may not have met them yet, and will never meet all of them, but always include them in your prayers and in your plans.

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