*This blog was originally written as part of "The Road: The Journey to Excellence," Delta Tau Delta's comprehensive member education program.
Most men who will join the fraternity this year are 18 years old right now.On average, they will live to be 75.6 years old.This means they will be with Delta Tau Delta for approximately 57.6 years, or 2,995 weeks.They will be alumni for 53 years, or 2,756 weeks.They will be chapter members for approximately 3.5 years, or 182 weeks.And for the next 6 to 8 weeks, they will be your new members.
Your job as a new member educator is not to achieve the pinnacle of fraternity within 8 weeks. It is to help new members lay the foundation for a life of excellence. Consider what this means for your education program:
- The goal is not to develop advanced leadership skills, but to ensure that new members have enough knowledge to navigate the basic operations of the chapter, the campus and the national organization, and to identify their own leadership path.
- The goal is not to unite new members in a bond against adversity. It is to build relationships capable of exploring a deeper connection of brotherhood with every member past, present and future.
- The goal is not for new members to swiftly recite every fact and figure. It is to understand how our founding story, important moments in our history, and the symbols of Delt are instructive in living a life of excellence.
- The goal is not to test the commitment of our new members, but to help them determine for themselves whether they are ready to take and keep the oath of membership for 2,756 weeks beyond initiation.
- The goal is not to demand compliance with our rules, but to help new members make decisions with Truth, Courage, Faith and Power.
These lives of excellence are in your hand for 1/500th of their total time as Delts. They are precious, for they carry the legacy of Delta Tau Delta, and therefore must be handled with extreme care. Please review your program to ensure that it is providing a safe, positive experience that meets the goals above.
- You recruited properly, so these men come to you with values, motivation and a desire to lead. These things do not need to be trained, only reinforced. Please do not waste time re-teaching what is already there.
- If you treat new member education as the defining moment of the Delt experience, our brotherhood will suffer from attrition and apathy. Members who put everything into new member education will have nothing left to invest or gain from their 671 remaining months of membership. Please do not put our future in jeopardy by setting unattainable standards.
- A new member’s success at learning is indicative of your ability to teach. The onus is on you to ensure that the information is interesting, easy to absorb and meaningful to their lives. Please be intentional about how it is presented, and add small building blocks slowly over time rather than all at once.
- Your brothers may attempt to sit back, fold their arms treat this as new members’ time to prove to us that they are worthy. These brothers are wrong. New members passed our test when we conferred upon them an invitation to join. This is our time to prove to them that we are worthy. Despite any resistance you may face, ensure that brothers are actively living their 182 weeks of undergraduate membership with character. Challenge them to be involved in the new member education process and to serve as the highest role models for at least the next 8 weeks.
- You’ve spent the last 5 minutes investing in the legacy of Delta Tau Delta. It’s a small price to pay for 20,965 days of a future brother’s life. Multiply that by the number of new members, the impact they will have, and the legacy they leave behind, and you can certainly afford to invest a little more.
Spend some extra time reading Delta Tau Delta’s Life of Excellence manual. Re-read the Ritual and look for important lessons for new member education. Contact your leadership consultant, your volunteer advisor or your campus advisor to talk through the program. Gather as much as you can that would simplify, enhance and prepare new members for their life as a Delt. Remember, an 8 week experience can be powerful, but it’s nothing compared to feeling the pinnacle of fraternity repeatedly for 57 years.
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