Counsel Brothers. Build them up. don't haze
As the substantial part of our five-part series, we continue to break down the Phi Kappa Psi Creed and use it as the ultimate tool in showing how hazing has no place in our Fraternity. Part 1 of the overall series can be found here, while the first quarter of the Creed was broken down here and the second quarter here.
"I believe that I am honor bound to strengthen my character and deepen my integrity; to counsel and guide my Brothers who stray from their obligations; to respect and emulate my Brothers who practice moderation in their manners and morals; to be ever mindful that loyalty to my Fraternity should not weaken loyalty to my college, but rather increase devotion to it, to my country, and to my God."
Let's quickly get the lessons about hazing being contradictory out of the way with this section so we may focus on the positive opportunities it provides. If you think that hazing, humiliating and harming another, strengthens YOUR character and integrity, there are bigger issues that need to be examined.
Secondly in that section is the concept of building loyalty/devotion to your college, country and chosen deity. This is a larger conversation, and a great opportunity for an advisor or fraternity educator to build a chapter activity around how Phi Psi can enhance this. From a hazing standpoint, it is simple: Hazing violates your school's rules and code of conduct; hazing violates the laws of this country; and hazing, as we discussed in part II of the Creed breakdown, violates the most universal of spiritual rules. Case closed.
Let us move away from the definition and condemning of hazing and focus on how our values as members of Phi Kappa Psi can help to remove hazing and also provide an environment that builds stronger men. The second line of the passage above is the strongest definition of "brotherhood" in our Creed.
We are to be aware of the missteps of our brothers and do all that we can to improve them and our practices. So, why not look at ways to improve our educational programs on a chapter level? Rather than take the easy approach (which can lead to hazing), challenge your new member education program. Challenge the active brothers to ALL take part in the educational activities. Work with the National Headquarters staff to develop long-lasting programs.
New member (pledge) education is Fraternity Education on a condensed basis, but why do so many chapters stop the lessons after initiation? If we are to counsel our brothers who stray, education should be offered to ALL members on a regular basis. Our strongest chapters continue to do this.
Those strong chapters include Pennsylvania Eta (F&M), who built an active mentoring program to bring alumni into the chapter more and counsel brothers through college and into the real world. They execute a values-based recruitment program, learned from our interfraternal friends. They join our New York Theta Chapter (RIT), who exemplifies the Ritual in all they do. The Creed is large and visibly on display in their chapter house for reflection. The Ritual is reviewed consistently by the entire chapter, focused on getting brothers to live it on a daily basis. Learn from these techniques, get on our Chapter Locator and contact those chapters to share valuable ideas.
We are to respect and emulate those who act as our moral guides. The easiest way to do that is to involve trusted alumni and members in the education process. Construct your values education around a speech by an alumnus who runs his own company and looks to hire employees with integrity. Maybe you have access to an alumnus in the ministry. Are they approachable to teach all members about moderation and values? How involved are your faculty advisors to work with members on time management, study habits and academic focus?
We can learn from the Creed to adopt practices that will strengthen our educational programs, combat hazing and move us forward in a positive direction. You can also be a part of our educational future as our revamped New Member Education Program will be unveiled in the summer of 2013, and feature dozens of lesson plans submitted by you! Contact Ron Ransom, Director of Expansion, if you have ideas for strong lessons that can be used with our new members.
Part IV of this Creed series will focus on the final quarter of the Creed and how hazing is anti-fraternity, all of them. As always, the power is in your hands. If you feel your chapter is hazing, or you want to be a catalyst to change, contact our office at 317-632-1852 or anonymously to the anti-hazing hotline at 1-888-NOT-HAZE and online here.