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From the Rose Croix West

Portrait of Tom ReppA gold compass open on a quarter circle with a rose cross between the legs of the compass and under it a pelican Measuring Our Fraternal Time

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to do a task or event? Maybe you have conducted advance planning for a lecture, degree, trip, vacation, school, or time to be with family and friends? Having quantifiable values to plan for these and other types of events will aid us in making the best use of this time.

Freemasonry encourages us to concentrate on, what I call "the standard five", life priorities. While using the twenty-four-inch gauge to organize our time for God, our health, family, our vocations, and worthy distressed brother Master Masons, we have found it difficult to fit all our priorities into the available time that is given to us.

Consider the time it takes to develop a casual friendship, then imagine the time it takes to transition from that casual friendship to becoming good friends. A first of a kind study published in the Journal for Social and Personal Relationships made interesting findings. An article by Kansas University (KU) News Service interviewed Associate Professor Jeffrey Hall from The University of Kansas (KU) about his findings (source). Professor Hall extrapolated information from his previous work that the human brain can only attend to about 150 friendships. In his study that followed, he set up an online data collection questioner and analyzed 355 respondents related to friends and time spent. Questions in the survey inquired quality of time spent with a person and it was weighted based on specific events. For instance, the time spent working with someone did not weigh in as much as quality time visiting in person over coffee or going for a walk. Final results roughly summarized that it takes about 50 hours of time together to move from mere acquaintance to casual friend, 90 hours to go from that stage to simple friend status and more than 200 hours before you can consider someone your close friend.

Consider Chart 1 below depicting the summary of final results of that study:
A graph of University of Kanas study results
Now we can gauge what these values mean in terms of activities we know. Or how we can estimate what effort is estimated to develop a close friend. Consider effort it takes to be a Blue Lodge Master Mason and an Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (AASR) Mason. For this case, we will consider effort to advance to the before mentioned and attendance at the stated meetings with volunteerism. When considering the graph of the attendance in Chart 2, we can see the amount of time needed (124 hours per year or 1.4% of time given in one year.) to meet the case. The first value that this gauge brings attention is that about sixty percent of this time is devoted to Blue Lodge (43% + 10% + 13% ÷ 2 = 59.5%). That makes sense, without Blue Lodge we would not have AASR Brethren!

Graph demonstrating breakdown of attendance for one year
Dividing 124 hours (Time Needed) into 200 hours (Close Friend), we would need to be min-imally active for two straight years of Blue Lodge and AASR in order to reach the estimate in the KU study to develop a close friend. Consider further, we are not giving all our attention to one person during this time. However, we are adding to the time it takes to develop a close friend, and we would need to keep that momentum up to meet that goal!

We now have a template to use for our future fraternal relationship building. We also can consider Freemasonry as a primary vehicle to get us in front of each other in a meaningful way to start our casual acquaintances, making a simple friend, and developing a close friend. When we begin to start meeting in person again, consider evaluating your schedules and making time to developing your fraternal relationships by being active brethren. At least 124 hours per year! It takes about 30 days or 720 hours to change a habit. Using the 124 hours per year, it will take us each about 6 years to measure our success (720 hours divided by 124 hours per year equals about 6 years.). Six years is about the same amount of time of serving in an officer line. Wow! I think I have developed a few friends along my journey as an Officer of the Rose Croix! What an honor to serve and I was not expecting anything in return! Thank you Brethren for this gift!

We have now established the quantitative value of friendship in the measure of time and anything of great value one should take great care of those assets. Consequently, I believe that we have developed many brethren friends in the fraternity and some of us are working at making and have made close brethren friends defined in the referenced KU study. Keep up the good work Brethren! May Brother love prevail and every moral and social virtue cement us. Be sure to track your time carefully and to keep our goals in perspective. Let us end with a quote from Past Grand Commander Albert Pike:

"Let us still remember that the only question for us to ask, as true men and Masons, is, what does duty require; and not what will be the result and our reward if we do our duty. Work on, with the Sword in one hand, and the Trowel in the other!" - Albert Pike


Thomas R. Repp, 32°
Senior Warden, Rocky Mountain Chapter of Rose Croix


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