My nephew Tylor became an Eagle Scout last week. He's thirteen, rather young to have accomplished such a milestone. He had the support of his parents and troop to see him through this challenge, and all his friends. Still, he did the brunt of the work to reach his goal.
As I sat in the audience observing this prestigious ceremony, I reflected back on my scouting days, recalling the scouts motto, "Be Prepared." I wonder what life could be like if we all adopted this philosophy. To be prepared ideally means not running late, not having to go looking for misplaced keys or shoes. No one would be rushing on the roads, fighting for possession of the next patch of asphalt. We wouldn't be driving through the drive-up window at some fast food because we didn't have time to eat a decent meal. We would have prepared our day and been better for it. Perhaps we would have more pleasant things to talk about than some jerk who cut us off at the intersection, or vent about the guy who wouldn't hold the elevator.
So much of our time is wasted due to lack of discipline and preparedness. If we learned to be prepared, maybe we would then have time to pursue other things. The Scouts of America have a long list of ideas. They include such things as being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind. Other tributes of a Scout are being obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and Reverent. The list goes on, but you get the idea.
The Scouts of America are busy molding young people into dependable and ethical characters. Their dream is to instill lifetime values that will make our community and country a better place to live. Eagle Scouts are the leaders of today and tomorrow. And I like knowing that. After all the wrongs that happen in our society, it's refreshing to know that communities all over America are still taking the time and the effort to instill good moral character to our youngsters.
And so as Tylor made his acceptance speech, I listened as he thanked his mom and dad, his sisters, troop leader and friends for helping him. He was humble, shy, and unbelievably proud to be an Eagle Scout. Happiness overflowed the sanctuary. His parents will wear their Eagle Scout parent pins for a long time, I'm sure. Tylor received many gifts, but the one he liked most was the sense of completion of a long task now done. But ... and his grin twisted a bit here, he said, "I'm really just beginning. I have agreed to the responsibility now."
The responsibility he spoke of, the same responsibility for every Eagle Scout is to be a good citizen, a strong leader, to help other people without expecting payment, to be mentally awake and morally straight.
That's a tall order for anyone, let alone a thirteen year old boy. But I like knowing Tylor is willing to try. Better yet, so are his many, many, many comrades.
Til next time ~