Even today, stonemasons tools - the frequently seen Masonic emblems - such as the square, compass, level, plumb-rule, gauge, chisel and mallet all relate symbolically to this process. Not surprisingly, Freemasonry is referred to as "the Craft".
By starting as an Apprentice and advancing steadily in "degrees" to be a Master, we are encouraged to learn about ourselves, to develop moral strength and compassion, to explore our capabilities and to know our limitations. But in this potentially introspective journey of discovery Masons are taught, first and foremost, never to lose sight of the needs of others. Respecting and responding to the needs of others is a cornerstone of Freemasonry. The natural consequence of this is Freemasonry's enormous charitable output.
Freemasonry encourages us to think of the process of self-improvement as a long, adventurous and enjoyable programme of learning. But then, of course, we know in truth, the learning process never ends……..
When admitted for the first time into Freemasonry as an " Entered Apprentice" some are shocked to be charged or committed to fulfil certain expectations - a daunting list of human virtues and moral standards by which they should endeavour to live their daily lives. But we soon realise that this is the ideal, the benchmark by which we, as individuals, should continuously judge ourselves. And as we are all human, we know that we may not always succeed in that mission. The point is, Freemasonry encourages us to keep on trying, to keep improving on our imperfections!