The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross

What We Can Do To Be Better Beta Sigma Phis
...From Beta Sigma Phi International...

 If we are going to discover how to become better Beta Sigma Phis, we had better start first by deciding what a good Beta Sigma Phi is. This consideration is naturally divided into two parts, and so is the consideration of how to be better Beta Sigma Phis.

 The first part is - what is a good Beta Sigma Phi as an individual, and how can she be a better Beta Sigma Phi as an individual.

 The second part is - what is a good Beta Sigma Phi as a member of the group, and how can she be a better Beta Sigma Phi as a member of the group.

 In Beta Sigma Phi, the most important entity is the member. The organization is designed and constructed for her. So it is especially important to decide what a good Beta Sigma Phi should be. It isn't necessary to look very far - certainly not beyond Beta Sigma Phi's Rituals.

 A Beta Sigma Phi is, in the first place, the FRIENDLIEST, the LOVELIEST-MINDED and the MOST SOCIALLY RESPECTED woman in the world. She is that because she practices six virtues, which are: COURAGE, VISION, HUMILITY, LOYALTY, FELLOWSHIP, SERVICE.

 Any woman who practices those virtues, even in moderation in her daily life, will be an outstanding woman and an outstanding Beta Sigma Phi. If she has the quiet courage that scoffs at disappointments; vision to see the possibilities in her friends and in her chapter; the humility to realize that her contribution is a contribution and not the entire story; the loyalty to sustain the strength of her friends; the love of people, which is fellowship; and the ability to express all of these to her chapter and to her community, which is service - she is a good Beta Sigma Phi. She can only be a better Beta Sigma Phi by practicing consistently those virtues in order that they may be brought closer and closer to perfection.

 To be a good Beta Sigma Phi as a member of the group requires the same practice of those virtues, with the addition of an understanding that the chapter is a way of making Beta Sigma Phi's ideals a reality in her life and in the lives of the other members of the chapter.

 A good chapter is very much like a well from which pure sweet water can be drawn, because all of the benefits of Beta Sigma Phi flow to the member through the chapter. Like a good well, a chapter must be maintained - the bucket must not leak and the walls must not fall in - or the benefits of the well or of the chapter cannot be drawn.

 A chapter is also a good bit like an arch, which is the strongest of architectural forms. Yet if one component part - one stone or one brick - is removed from an arch, the entire arch falls. So every member of every chapter - to be a good Beta Sigma Phi - must do her best to keep every member of the chapter in a position of strength and security so that the arch will not fall ... so that the chapter may continue to serve.

 A chapter may extend itself in many directions - unlike an arch, but it must be a direction in which all the members are willing to go. A good Beta Sigma Phi, as a member of the chapter, will not seek to dominate it or to focus its efforts upon her own single special interest.

 Let's carry the example of the arch a bit farther. No self-respecting brick in an arch would say to another, "I'm not particularly interested in holding up this end of the building, so let's just forget about it and let the keystone do all the work." If it is true that a member must not dominate a chapter, it is equally true that all the members of a chapter must accept and exercise their rights and privileges of voice and vote, else they will find they are dominated by virtue of the simple fact that they must be if the chapter is to make any headway at all. No individual, and certainly no group, can progress on the basis of an attitude of "I don't care" or "I don't want to try."

 There are many examples of the effect of the lack of practicing the virtues we have been discussing, and, happily, there are many more examples of the effect of practicing them. A good Beta Sigma Phi must practice enlightened selfishness. The organization, after all, was created for her, so she must use it, but she must use it in such a way that it remains strong and vital, and can make a real contribution to her and to every other member.


 A Beta Sigma Phi chapter is the sum of its members - their strength and weaknesses, their likes and dislikes, their thoughts and their efforts. When a Beta Sigma Phi withdraws her strength from the organization, she not only ceases to derive the full benefits of the organization, she makes it more difficult for every other member of her chapter to derive the full benefits.


 Everyone has heard this old quotation. Every worthwhile thing in human relationships should have the same beginning. Beta Sigma Phis are big people and they have big aims and big goals. The fantastic amount of service work that is done by Beta Sigma Phis is ample testimony, and yet the greatest possible effect that any Beta Sigma Phi can have for good in the world is to p e r f e c t herself. This is also the way in which she can be a better Beta Sigma Phi - both as an individual and as a member of the group. She should, in truth, be the FRIENDLIEST, LOVELIEST-MINDED, and the most SOCIALLY RESPECTED woman in the world.

 So, the secret of being a better Beta Sigma Phi is essentially the secret of being a better person.

 Like this great Republic of ours, which derives its authority from the consent of the governed, a Beta Sigma Phi chapter derives all its strength, originality, warmth, friendliness, and brilliance from the individual member. The chapter cannot require those things of any member ... they must be freely given; and because they are freely given, the strength and effectiveness of the chapter is increased. As its strength is increased, its ability to serve the individual member is increased, and her opportunity to become ever a better person and ever a better Beta Sigma Phi is increased.


 There are certain things one must do if she wishes to become a better Beta Sigma Phi, or, for that matter, if she wishes to be a real Beta Sigma Phi at all. You will have your own list of such things, but let's list a few together.

1] Avoid gossip. Any discussion of Beta Sigma Phi affairs should take place in Beta Sigma Phi chapter meetings - not in the carpool on the way home, on the phone, via email, etc.

2] Respect the opinions of others. Beta Sigma Phi is a growing and changing organization, and one's own viewpoint is not necessarily the only or even the best way. Be open to the ideas and suggestions of others. There is more than one way to be a Beta Sigma Phi.

3] Practice tolerance. One definition of tolerance is "an allowable difference." Surely there is an allowable difference between members of Beta Sigma Phi. In our Opening Ritual we say, " ... More tolerance for our fellow beings through a better understanding of them ... "

4] Express your thoughts and feelings. There is no matter for chapter consideration in which every member should not try to interest herself. Each matter should receive careful consideration from every member, even if it is a matter of very little interest to her.

5] Be courteous. The relaxation and informality of today's lifestyles sometimes leads us close to the edge of discourtesy, and nothing can ruffle or hurt feelings so quickly as a simple discourtesy.

6] Avoid cliques. Cliques are foreign to the heart of a true Beta Sigma Phi. Special friendships within the chapter are inevitable, but they need not exclude the welfare and interests of the other members, and operate as a voting block for their own interests.

 TO BE A BETTER BETA SIGMA PHI, a member should seek balance in her own life and in the chapter between the social, cultural, and service phases of Beta Sigma Phi. No one of these phases should be accentuated to the detriment of the others. She should require of her chapter that it give her a social and cultural experience, as well as a service experience. Each activity of the chapter for which she votes should in some way broaden her opportunities, increase her effectiveness, and bring her closer to the fulfillment of her potentiality. This is the normal and rightful function of a chapter.

 Remember - Beta Sigma Phi is designed for the individual member, and its usefulness exists in its ability to help her perfect herself. She will be a good Beta Sigma Phi and an ever better Beta Sigma Phi if she strives to become the FRIENDLIEST, the LOVELIEST-MINDED, and the most SOCIALLY RESPECTED woman in the world!

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