Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Knock on the Fraternity House Door


Hi, good evening.  I don't know if I'm in the right place.  I'm wondering if you might be looking for new members?  

Before we discuss it, I need to tell you some things about me...

My parents are divorced, and I feel forgotten.

My parents are both dead, and I’ve never really felt at home anywhere.

I’m lost.

I’m gay.  Or, I might be.  I don’t know.

I don’t know who I am.

I am poor.

I am rich.

  I come from a different country, with customs you’d think are weird.

People always stare at my wheelchair.

I walk funny.

I’ve supported my siblings since I was twelve.

I’m ready to lead, but I don’t know how.

I don’t like my body.

Sometimes I feel empty.

I’ve always been in the minority.

Most people ignore me.

I act tough to hide my insecurities.

I’m a recovering alcoholic.

I’m paying for my own tuition.

I’ve never had to pay for anything.

I stopped using drugs last year.

I’m a Republican.

I’m a Democrat.

Nobody has ever told me that I matter.

I’m battling HIV.

My clothes are from a thrift store.

My mom never told me I was right.

My mom never told me I was wrong.

I’m blind.

I’ve seen things I don’t want to remember.

I speak sign language.

I never show my true feelings.

I’ve lost my hair.
 
I’m scared.

My religion is different than yours.

My teachers told me to be quiet.

My teachers told me to speak up.

I’ve always felt alone.

I’m a parent.

I’ve never experienced "family."

I don’t know what to believe.

I’m ready to build something important.

I’m always running.

I’m always different.

And I don’t know what to do next.

So, I guess I'm wondering...


May I come in?

  

7 comments:

  1. This is great. I will be sharing this with my fraternity. Every year that goes by its seems as though a few fraternities ignore those who are less fortunate and perpetuate the stereotype that fraternities are all stuck up rich boys. Thank you for this!

    Steven Alves
    Brother The Hun
    3rd Councilor - Treasurer
    Beta Mu Sigma Fraternity
    Southern Connecticut State University

    www.BetaMuSigma.com

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  2. I'll definitely be sharing this. Thank you.

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  3. I think something that should be added to this is "I'm a woman." I am a current member of a CO-ED Fraternity. I am not in a Sorority, I am not in a Frasorority. I am in a FRATERNITY, and I am PROUD OF IT. Because only strong women pledge Frats.

    Other than that, I love this article :)

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  4. Awesome and simple conversation starter. Using this in Beta Keystone Conference "demanding respect" curriculum! Thanks, John.

    -Garrett Hyer
    Beta Theta Pi

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  5. My Colony of Delta Chi has always had two things every member has in common, No members have any reason to know each other besides the Fraternity, and no member ever expected to join a Fraternity. This is practically our creed, and I'm damn proud to see this attitude other places as well.

    Patrick Lashway
    Delta Chi
    Eastern Washington Colony "E"

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  6. The first few lines were significant to me because I met that young man exactly as the scenario describes. But after that, the range is too wide. A great fraternity chapter is not a dorm - a collection of random individuals. A great fraternity chapter - great in the eyes of 19-year olds - recruits members who are compatible and who are focused on ensuring that the chapter continues to be a powerful player. Yes, it is an interesting conflict: some of the bery men that would most benefit from membership are men you cannot afford to have join.
    I joined a weak chapter. Through struggle I learned hard lessons about how to make it powerful. The biggest mistake is thinking that 'programming' can make great members out of anyone. That's not true. The top fraternities attract top men, and men make the fraternity.

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  7. I would have to disagree with part of your statement. While I do agree that a great fraternity chapter is not a dorm and that the members must be at least able to get along, not a single one of those statements is problematic. I can think of someone--close friends and brothers--for quite a lot of these statements. My chapter, like many others, strive to accept men for their internal worth and values and to look past what hand, for better or worse, they have been dealt. Whether a man is blind, a parent, sick, lonely, lost, or running, or any of the others, he does not make a chapter weak or strong. The strength of the chapter comes from the internal strength of the brothers. The only man that you cannot afford to have join is one that does not have virtue, integrity, or an upstanding moral character. The only programming is whether or not a man possesses, or strives to possess, said virtues, which, I will agree, cannot be programmed into anyone. Men do indeed make the fraternity, but they are top men because of their personal worth, not their background or (dis)abilities.

    Jordan

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