Tribute to an Eagle Scout

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Did you know that only 6% of Scouts, in 2014, made it to Eagle Scout? That’s 51,820 kids. Out of 73.6 million children, even if half of them were boys, that is under 0.15% of the entire population of the United States of American children. It’s less than 0.0015% of the entire world’s population of just boys. So, it’s no small thing to say that earning the rank of Eagle Scout is one of extreme challenge and rarity. You’re more likely to be injured by jewelry than become an Eagle Scout! But, what makes an Eagle Scout so different or significant?

  • An Eagle Scout is not wealthy and must work for what they do.
  • An Eagle Scout does not receive public admiration, social media status, or fame.
  • An Eagle Scout is not given instant success or privilege.
  • An Eagle Scout can be healthy – or disabled – and there’s no difference in the love, involvement, or excitement.
  • An Eagle Scout isn’t more loved, more liked, or better off than any other person.
  • An Eagle Scout is not entitled, not protesting, and not creating dissension somewhere in America.
  • An Eagle Scout can come in any color, race, religious preference, background, or upbringing, without discrimination, hatred, or fear.
  • An Eagle Scout isn’t a different type of person – just a person with a heart beat like the rest of the world.

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In 2012, 13.5 million hours of community service was reported with over $300 billion dollars in donated funds for services from the work of Eagle Scouts. What is it that Eagle Scouts, do?

  • Eagle Scouts serve others and their communities.
  • They build play centers for homeless children.
  • They build learning centers for the disabled, veterans, and victims of abuse.
  • They build bridges in your parks.
  • They clean-up trash in your cities, parks, and neighborhoods.
  • And, so much, more …

Every dime provided through the Eagle Scout program potentially offsets billions in taxpayer dollars. When Eagle Scouts rehabilitate public places – you save. When they help the elderly and disabled with food and shelter – you save. When they uplift the life of another human being and inspire them to do better so that person becomes a hard-working, taxpayer in the community: you save.

  • Eagle Scouts don’t look different – they are normal, every-day kids.
  • Eagle Scouts go through every hardship of growing up, puberty, distractions, curiosity, education, learning to drive, and having access to social media as any other child.
  • Eagle Scouts prove that in the face of drugs, peer pressure, a world divided politically, and a culture hell-bent on its own, self-destruction, that it is possible to be strong.
  • Eagle Scouts prove that in a world of non-stop labor, hard work, destruction of families, and a level of sacrifice by parents that is unparalleled in history – that there is time to love, to nurture, and to care … if you make it. (parents … you have no excuse …)

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Eagle Scouts live in every kind of neighborhood, from dumps full of crime, to wealthier neighborhoods where they learn to work harder than their parents before them (and appreciate the struggles of other people).

  • Neil Armstrong, was an Eagle Scout.
  • William Devries, M.D., was an Eagle Scout.
  • Gerald Ford, was an Eagle Scout.
  • Steve Holcomb, was an Eagle Scout.
  • Oswald “Ozzie” Nelson, was an Eagle Scout.
  • Frederick Reines, was an Eagle Scout.
  • Mike Rowe, was an Eagle Scout.
  • Jeff Sessions, was an Eagle Scout.
  • And, even Steven Spielberg, was an Eagle Scout.

Although it may be exciting for young men to see that some of America’s most important contributors to politics, culture, entertainment, national security, and science, (and many, many other fields) – with over two million Eagle Scouts since the beginning, there are many scouts who just live their lives the best they can, as normal human beings, without great accolades, magical prowess, or other supernatural achievement.

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It’s not doubt that the “Scouts” are named that way. After all, “Scouts” are the ones who go ahead of the group, alone, without guidance or help, to face the darkness ahead, and find a path of safety for all those who follow. The whole of Scouting is a great organization – but for those who went the entire distance and became Eagles, no matter what happens in their lives, they can stand a little taller … a little stronger … and a little longer than the rest of the people.

  • When you need help – an Eagle Scout will give it.
  • When you’re lost – an Eagle Scout can guide you home.
  • When your heart is broken – an Eagle Scout will listen.

They are not magical people because they are Eagle Scouts … they are Eagle Scouts because they are magical people.

Not every child will be given the chance to become an Eagle Scout. Even the Girl Scouts are fighting to be allowed into the Boy Scouts (albeit they are wrong and need better guidance), simply because they long for the opportunity to be something greater than the sum of their parts, too (and they deserve a chance, too). Not every child will succeed as an Eagle Scout, distracted by the world and lost in those teenage years. But, one thing is certain:

  • To live a little better …
  • To climb a little higher …
  • To stay strong to your convictions in the face of darkness …
  • And, to learn the value of helping others …

Is something this world really needs right now.

We can’t force our children to be what we want. We can only hope the best for them, try to set a good example of getting back up strong when we fall … (and we will fall) … and going that extra distance. When we …

  • Hold a door open for a stranger …
  • Say “hello”, with sincerity, to someone passing by …
  • Stop to lend a hand when someone is in need …
  • Give of our time, more than our money …
  • Refuse to be part of the nightmarish shopping crowds (like Black Friday) …
  • Honk a little less on the freeway …
  • Don’t jump aboard the Twitter hate machine …
  • Refuse to blog with anger and malevolence …
  • Quit giving the media accolades for hate reporting …
  • And do the things that makes the day better for one person …

Just … one human being …

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The results are profound (the Butterfly Effect). We may not see it directly. It may not come to us in our lifetime. But … it will come. The people of the world will lighten up – even if just a little. And, the amazing qualities that are held by every Eagle Scout, becomes a part of everyone’s lives. Do you want to make America “great”? Wouldn’t a country filled with charity, good will, knowledge, and integrity be a “great” start? If you’ve never considered it, learned about it, or participated, I suggest trying. The Scouts have tons of programs available – in the community and through some Church organizations. The worse case scenario is that you may get to camp somewhere you never thought possible, go somewhere you’ve never been, learn something you didn’t know, and make a friend.

  • Eagle Scouts climb where people stare from a distance in longing.
  • Eagle Scouts learn what most people take for granted.
  • Eagle Scouts do … what others have only wondered about.
  • Eagle Scouts help those that most people shy away from.
  • Eagle Scouts have a stronger faith and testimony in God than most religious leaders.
  • Eagle Scouts soar just a little higher than the rest of the world …

The requirements aren’t easy. Too many kids get to the rank too late, or too soon. Some organizations want kids to get there sooner so they aren’t distracted during their teenage years – but that’s the point of an Eagle Scout. They overcome the distractions of life that lead normal men and women down the primrose path. This may not be a path for everyone. But – it is the path that everyone tries to walk.

Oh – yes … yes it is.

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Humans are curious little things. Scurrying about, wanting to be famous, to sing, to write, to dance, to meet people, to do new things, try new ideas, be heard, be listened to, be admired … and so on and so on. It’s all a part of the hierarchy of behavior and is well proven with the direction the internet has gone! And, of course … there are always exceptions. Forget the exceptions. Forget the one or two “bad” experiences. If bad experiences were to be a reasonable cause for stopping our evolutionary progress … everyone would lay down and die as an infant. If you’re a Girl Scout and want to be more – demand it! (As a Girl Scout). Copy the Eagle path and demand your leaders follow it. If you’re a boy, just ask mom and dad to get you there and the Troop will do the rest. But, just know this:

The world will fight you. Television, music, media, and the culture in general, want to distract you, hurt you, and sell you into the “stuff” generation … a very powerful movement of over 60 years. Some peers will insult you, like bullies, because they’re afraid. Most peers, won’t understand and won’t even ask. This is something you have to do – for YOU.

To the adults, with whom I associate, who will never have known this privilege as a child … sponsor someone (if not your own). It’s time consuming, daunting, and overwhelming – you know … ALL the GREAT things that make life GREAT!

Anyway – here’s to you, Eagle Scout. You’ve kept alive the hopes and dreams of future generations that one day … maybe … with a little luck and a lot of faith … can walk in your path! I salute you! (Just don’t ask me to tie a knot … I struggle with my own shoe laces!!!)

Thanks for Reading!


Growing up doing those Kiwanis Clubs, doing those Cub Scout banquets, doing those church shows, I learned to find that sensibility that most people could laugh at – that all ages and demographics could laugh at.” – Jeff Dunham

I actually like snakes! When I was young, I was a boy scout nature camp counselor, and one of our projects was collecting snakes and creating an environment for them, so I’m quite familiar with snakes and think they’re fantastic creatures.” – Harrison Ford

My father was a very good Boy Scout. He was very skilled with knots, and he showed me how to tie a bow tie.” – Bill Nye the Science Guy

Throughout my life and career, I have continually been impressed with the importance of integrity – whether it was growing up as a Boy Scout, working in one of my first jobs as a university janitor, or being a leader in a Fortune 500 company.” – Rex Tillerson

 

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