Recently, my boys joined the Boy Scouts. I had not given much thought to the Boy Scouts in years, even though I was a Boy Scout as a girl. My eldest son had asked to join scouting several times, but we were so busy living our day-to-day that it never seemed to happen. My husband finally took the request in hand, after a year (possibly more) of my son asking if he could join, and found a troop in the neighboring town.
My eldest son has always been a boy scout, if you know what I mean. Honest, hard-working, good kid who cared and worried about others. Now, he was a Boy Scout, donning his uniform with pride. My middle son joined the troop with his older brother, and found he really loved it as well. Since they both attend a very small private school, I was happy that they were meeting other boys their age. I didn’t stop to think beyond the social element that most “children activities” give. Boy Scouts teaches something sorely lacking in today’s youth, something I have begun to see blossom in my sons. They were good boys before they joined the BSA, but I see something growing in them that makes me proud. Leadership skills, loyalty, honor, community activism and respect.
Respect; for authority and for our nation. It is teaching my sons that to be a good leader, they must also be good followers and scouts. They must learn to respect their leaders, parents and authority figures. I see my sons stepping up in their troop as leaders and it makes me proud.
My youngest son recently joined the Webelos. This is the transitional organization for the BSA that helps turn Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts. Webelos actually stands for “We’ll Be Loyal Scouts”. Last night he earned his “Bobcat” award. We went to the packs yearly campfire and watched as the young scouts preformed skits and songs. They received their awards and then the Pack Leader called for silence.
He explained that since the creation of the Boy Scouts, they have been tasked with a privileged that for years only two organizations had, the Retirement of the Colors. The burning of the American flag that has become to worn to fly.
Calling the young Scouts to attention he described the history of each flag; where it had flown and how it had served its country. He then asked that we formerly salute each flag, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance one last time. My eyes welled with tears as I not only Pledge two flags, but in my mind’s eye, each soldier that risked their lives, the police officers and fire fighters who serve for this flag every day, and the doctors and nurses who put their lives on the line when America needs them. The American Red Cross volunteers who go fearlessly into disaster zones and the everyday Americans who spring into action when their fellow-man calls.
These two flags represented a great nation. A nation that the rest of the world calls when they need help. A great nation of people who are the Scouts to the rest of the world. In this time of elections, economic upheaval and unrest, we can lose sight of how great America is, and how much the rest of the world depends upon us. These flags where more than just pieces of cloth, they where symbols of a battered, but great, country.
After we saluted the flags, the Pack Master, ceremoniously retired and burned the flags. Each young Scout, and all the parents, stood at attention and saluted these two flags until they were fully retired.
Then we respectfully left the camp ground and returned home. What a difference I saw in those young boys. As they collected their flyers for the food drive next week and talked about earning
their merit badges, I saw hope for our country. The contrast of these young men compared to what the world would believe America is today; Hollywood, Protests and the Occupied Movement is stark and hope filled.
With the Occupied Movement on TV and in the news, and the sensationalist nature of our media, to often I view our future Americans as a group of pampered and indulged parasites. Demanding they be given jobs they have not earned, houses they have no right to and a life style that they are not willing to work for, gives voices to a fear that Americas future is dim. The face of angry, dirty mobs burning our flag can make you fear for the future of our country. The burning of our flag illustrated to me all that could be wrong, and all that is right, with our Nation.
Last night I was reminded that these vocal few are not the future of America. My Boys Scouts and the Girl Scouts who attended this campfire are where our future lies. Today there are over 6 million Boy Scouts active in the USA. It is estimated that since its start, the BSA has touched the lives of 70 Million Americans. This is where our strength and drive lies, not in the unruly few who want their 15 minutes of fame.
These young people are the future of our nation, and they outnumber the entitled few. They work hard to gather food for those who need it. They do community works to earn their Eagle Scout badge. They are our future soldiers, police, doctors and leaders. They are the kind face that gives you First Aid in your darkest hour, the leader of a search and rescue that brings you home safe, and the helping hand that brings warm clothes when you need it. They have values that the Occupied Movement have long forgotten, or possibly never known. Our Scouts restore my hope in the American Future. And I am proud my sons are a part of it.