As part of my work with our school, I recently chaperoned a group of honor music students on a bit of a “field trip.” They took part in a long day that culminated with a truly amazing concert. There were some twenty schools represented—middle school age kids. My job was basically to keep the kids safe and make sure they had a good time. For various reasons, I was in contact with our school principal several times throughout the day, most often by text message.
How does this relate to the Grange Way of Life? The experience demonstrated that as we adopt the “Grange Way” it can, in fact, become a way of life. We follow it and it follows us. I realized it after the concert was over and each student had, as instructed, “checked out” with me by bringing a parent to meet me before leaving. After the last one left, I texted to the principal, “All is secure. Every student has checked out with a parent.” At least I didn’t call her “Worthy Master.”
I think it’s interesting that National Grange has adopted “The Grange Way” as a theme for a theme and I am anxious to see how that theme translates into practice, partly because of the challenges we face as a collection of individuals, trying to live the Grange Way. A strength of the Grange is also a weakness. As a grassroots organization, we take on many different forms and interests. Do we have an identity crisis?
What is the Grange Way? I confess I’m tempted to set up a survey on the website and ask that question. I suspect we’d get some interesting answers!
National Communications Director Amanda Brozana Rios revealed her new tattoo at the Maine State Grange Convention. On the inside of her forearm you ‘ll find the familiar, “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, freedom, In all things, charity.” I think that bit of ink represents a strong commitment to the Grange Way of life and I congratulate Amanda for quite literally making it part of her.
While it makes sense to adopt new themes, and occasionally change our focus, for an organization such as ours, we do well when we consider what has worked for 150 years.
I think it’s funny that I ended my school assignment with an automatic announcement, “All is secure.” I think it would be great if we found ourselves reciting the Grange slogan more often. When we find ourselves disagreeing regarding a course of action during a Grange Meeting, someone needs to stand up and remind us, “In essentials, unity… in non-essentials, freedom… in all things charity.” Is it necessary (essential) that we agree on everything? Can we allow individuality? How do we demonstrate charity (love) as we go about being Granges and Grangers?
You can bet you’ll be hearing more from me on this topic… but for now, “All is secure.”
The Grange Way: in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, freedom; in all things charity.
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Any degree or ritual quotations are from the forty-sixth edition of the 2013 Subordinate Grange Manual. The views and opinions expressed in “Exploring Traditions” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official doctrine and policy of the Grange.