Shriner Silence

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Once per month, all Shriners from my Bahia Shrine Temple are supposed to attend the stated meeting. At a stated meeting, there’s lots of pomp and circumstance, along with the presentation of nobility, checks to the hospitals, reports on the work being done by each organization within the Shrine, etc. Stated meetings are important, but they are, in a word: BoR-ING!

After so much recognition of past presidents, discussion of some of the more mundane business, etc., I’m ready to sneak out and do something stimulating to my brain. Often times, too, a Shriner will have the floor to discuss an upcoming event, taking 30 seconds of necessary information and turning it into a five minute speech. Inefficiency is always one of my biggest pet peeves, so I’m usually chomping at the bit to get out of Dodge about halfway through the meeting.

At our meeting last month, our moderator recognized a fellow Shriner, Gary Bergenske. Gary is an extremely high ranking Shriner; so high that he’ll likely some day be the highest ranking Shriner in the entire international body.

About two hours into the meeting, the moderator recognized Gary and asked, “Gary, do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share with the nobles?”

A cheer went up when Gary replied, “None whatsoever!”

Silence is golden…but after hours on end of useless jabber, it’s more valuable than gold. Maybe it’s platinum. Or titanium. Or diamond. Either way, knowing what the constituents want, then giving it to them, is the quickest way to gain the respect of an organization you lead. Gary knows this. Real leaders do. And leaders respect the time of their subordinates, not filling it with useless self promotion, just to hear him/herself talk. I, for one, am ready to bear hug anyone who’ll get me out of time wasting events…and I think when Gary gave his non-statement, there were about 200 other guys who were right behind me in line!

Remember…silence is sometimes the very best thing you can say!

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