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Rules to live by

If you have every looked closely at Masonic protocol & etiquette as well as Masonic Landmarks and law, it should become evident that there is a common thread.

WBro. Washington wrote a booklet on rules of etiquette for gentleman. He gleaned most of this from books he had read as a boy and young man and from most sources here tried to live by these same rules.

I recently came across a social media post for “Rules to teach your son”. The post reminded me a lot of WBro. Washington’s booklet, albeit with a slightly more modern twist on it. I would also re-title this “Rules to teach a young Mason” The items in Red are the ones I would include that list. What’s your list look like?

Rules to teach your son

  1. Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.  – Common Courtesy
  2. Don’t enter a pool by the stairs. – Be bold when called for
  3. The man at the BBQ Grill is the closest thing to a king. – Among men this is an axiom
  4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer. – Common Sense
  5. Request the late check-out. – Enjoy life
  6. When entrusted with a secret, keep it. – Self Explanatory of course
  7. Hold your heroes to a higher standard. – Never step down, always bid men step up to you
  8. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas. – Again, Common courtesy
  9. Play with passion or don’t play at all… – If you are going to do something, give it your all
  10. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look them in the eye. – Directly out of WBro. Washington’s booklet
  11. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be. – Don’t let anything stop you in your pursuit of your dreams
  12. If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point. – Certainly true
  13. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her. – Be the rock for the ones you love
  14. You marry the girl; you marry her family. – The nuclear and extended family is what make you what you are, love all of them
  15. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath. – Never let them see you sweat
  16. Experience the serenity of traveling alone. – Know thyself
  17. Never be afraid to ask out the best-looking girl in the room. – pursuit of happiness
  18. Never turn down a breath mint. – share and accept what is offered to you graciously
  19. A sport coat is worth 1000 words. – Always overdress for an event or occasion. You can always remove to dress down
  20. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising. – Momento Mori
  21. Thank a veteran. Then make it up to him. – Yes “thank you for your service is always nice, if you get the chance buy them a drink or event lunch. 
  22. Eat lunch with the new kid. – seek out new members at meetings and get to know them, introduce them to well informed brothers
  23. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it. – This, as in all things, is an axiom
  24. Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win. – Your mom will always be your mom
  25. Manners maketh the man. – Again, right out of WBro. Washington’s booklet
  26. Give credit. Take the blame. – Definitely applies to every WM
  27. Stand up to Bullies. Protect those bullied. – Always and every time
  28. Write down your dreams. – Set goals, write them down and reference them regularly
  29. Take time to snuggle your pets, they love you so much and are always happy to see you. – of course, they are family
  30. Be confident and humble at the same time. – Stand erect among men, be the example of grace and humility
  31. If ever in doubt, remember whose son you are that you are a Freemasons and REFUSE to just be ordinary! – This is key to showing those in your life and the world what a Freemason is.
  32. In all things lead by example not explanation. – Another truism if there were any

The rules above (with commentary) are not arbitrary. Like the “Golden Rule”, they have come down from antiquity from many, if not all, civilizations in one form or another.

Civilization must have “rules” like the golden rule and maybe even some or all of those above to be civilized. Freemasons need to embody No. 32 and exemplify it in all we do.

Just to cement the ideas above I will also offer the following:

In The Farmer’s Almanac for 1823 published at Andover, Mass., the following was printed under the heading,
 of a Freemason”

The real Freemason is distinguished from the rest of Mankind by the uniform unrestrained rectitude of his conduct.
Other men are honest in fear of punishment which the law might inflect they are religious in expectation of being rewarded, or in dread of the devil, in the next world.
A Freemason would be just if there were no laws, human or divine except those written in his heart by the finger of his Creator. In every climate, under every system of religion, he is the same.
He kneels before the Universal Throne of God in gratitude for the blessings he has received and humble solicitation for his future protection.
He venerates the good men of all religions.
He disturbs not the religion of others.
He restrains his passions, because they cannot be indulged without injuring his neighbor or himself.
He gives no offense, because he does not choose to be offended.
He contracts no debts which he is certain he cannot discharge because he is honest upon principal.

Finally, I believe Bro. John “The Duke” Wayne said it more simply, yet succinctly:


“I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.” ― Bro. John Wayne “The Shootist”




It would really be a wonderful thing to hear what the Brothers say about the rules above, would you add any, remove any, re-word any? If you want a lively discussion in a Lodge, bring up what does it mean to be a Freemason, and a man.