“To Live a Life of Honor” – Why the Boy Scouts Matter

More and more it seems that we all need to be reminded of the importance of integrity, citizenship, and community.  The Boy Scouts of America understands this and embeds it in the lives of its members at a level no other organization can match.  I recently came across the article below and thought it was worth sharing.

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HAGELIN: Scouts’ honor counters culture

by Rebecca Hagelin – The Washington Times

Culture challenge of the week: Raising strong boys in a soft culture

Parenting boys can be tough.

From sexually provocative media, to the influence of bad-boy athletes and self-indulgent celebrities, to violent video games … the cultural undertow exerts a powerful pull in the wrong direction.

When looking for alternatives, parents like Angela and Ty, who both work full-time while raising three boys, feel overwhelmed at times. Angela observes, “Its hard to know whats going to benefit our guys in the long run … and be something they like.” Their vision is to raise boys who will become strong, godly men of character, with inquisitive spirits and service-oriented hearts and the self-discipline and drive to achieve their goals.

Thats no easy task in a culture thats gone soft: entertainment idealizes gender-bending celebrities and devalues strongly masculine traits; the social-media environment fuels teenage narcissism; and schools inflate self-esteem by pouring on unearned praise in the absence of actual achievement.

How to save your family by partnering with the Boy Scouts

So how can we raise strong sons?

As parents, we must set clear direction — and be positive examples. But we also need to find strong partners — organizations, friends and churches — to support our values, provide admirable role models, and to offer friendship and encouragement to our children.

Theres no better organizational partner for parents than the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

A recent Gallup poll found that, while fewer young men are Boy Scouts than in years past, boys involved in scouting have higher academic achievement than non-Scouts. And as adults, former Boy Scouts out-earn their non-scouting peers.

Dig a little deeper, and its not hard to understand why.

According to recent research, Scouts are highly likely to internalize positive character traits like honesty, leadership and dependability. And boys who were Scouts are more likely than non-Scouts to resist negative peer pressure, on the one hand, and to value family life and lifelong friendships, on the other. They learn, as one BSA executive told me, “to live a life of honor.” Those qualities are indispensable not only for career success, but for family life as well.

Why does Scouting work so well? For starters, the Scouts have a hundred-year track record of building character and fitness. Though times change, human nature does not. The Scouts incorporate the latest technologies and current interests into the time-honored merit-badge system; boys learn to try new things, set goals and persevere until they accomplish them.

But the capacity for achievement, by itself, doesnt create better human beings. And heres where theBoy Scouts shine most brightly: its activities explicitly seek to instill character and virtues within the hearts of young men.

Im so grateful to the Boy Scouts for the years of support they gave my own two sons throughout their childhood and teen years. My husband and I first introduced our boys to Scouting when our oldest son was in second grade. The next year, his little brother joined the Scouts, too, and for the next 10 years, our sons lives were filled with adventure, friendship and achievement — and consistent teaching about God and His commandment to serve others.

Our two sons thrived in the Boy Scouts. They found strong role models and lifelong friends, and both of them earned the coveted rank of Eagle Scout. But even had they not decided to pursue the Eagle Scout rank, the years of Scouting would have been a blessing. I will always be grateful for the way Scouting strengthened the values we were working so hard to instill in our sons.

For parents looking for an assist in raising strong young men in a world thats gone soft, check out your local Scouting troop. Your boys will “be prepared … for life.”

• Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at rebecca@howtosaveyourfamily.com.

© Copyright 2011 The Washington Times, LLC.

 

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The Call of the Wild

At each opening and closing campfire at summer camp, a staff member of the Ranger Program presents a poem/story of some sort and recruits for the program.  These stories are inspirational, motivational, and meaningful.  They tend to (appropriately) relate to the outdoors.  One of my favorites is “The Call of the Wild”.  This poem by Robert Service is not the same as the story by Jack London, but is nevertheless a challenge for exploration and understanding.  It is definitely worth reading and considering.

The Call of the Wild

by Robert W. Service

Have you gazed on naked grandeur
where there’s nothing else to gaze on,
Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,
Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley
with the green stream streaking through it,
Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence?
Then for God’s sake go and do it;
Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.

Have you wandered in the wilderness, the sagebrush desolation,
The bunch-grass levels where the cattle graze?
Have you whistled bits of rag-time at the end of all creation,
And learned to know the desert’s little ways?
Have you camped upon the foothills,
have you galloped o’er the ranges,
Have you roamed the arid sun-lands through and through?
Have you chummed up with the mesa?
Do you know its moods and changes?
Then listen to the Wild — it’s calling you.

Have you known the Great White Silence,
not a snow-gemmed twig aquiver?
(Eternal truths that shame our soothing lies).
Have you broken trail on snowshoes? mushed your huskies up the river,
Dared the unknown, led the way, and clutched the prize?
Have you marked the map’s void spaces, mingled with the mongrel races,
Felt the savage strength of brute in every thew?
And though grim as hell the worst is,
can you round it off with curses?
Then hearken to the Wild — it’s wanting you.

Have you suffered, starved and triumphed,
groveled down, yet grasped at glory,
Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?
“Done things” just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story,
Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul?
Have you seen God in His splendors,
heard the text that nature renders?
(You’ll never hear it in the family pew).
The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things —
Then listen to the Wild — it’s calling you.

They have cradled you in custom,
they have primed you with their preaching,
They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have put you in a showcase; you’re a credit to their teaching —
But can’t you hear the Wild? — it’s calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There’s a whisper on the night-wind,
there’s a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling. . .let us go.

Robert Service

A Bit More On Camp (+ Pictures & Video)

Where has the summer gone?  The last week of campers leaves on Saturday and the staff will be out on Sunday (baring craziness).

We spend all year talking about and getting ready for camp and then it is over just like that.  I did not even work on staff this year and yet this feeling is still real.  So much of the time I spend with my camp friends is spent talking about the upcoming year and reminiscing about the past.  It is amazing how time flies.  I wonder what this next year will bring with so many people discussing not returning to camp…

When I was at camp last weekend, I took a decent amount of pictures. S-F is the home of many memories and friendships.  I’ve got some pretty good pictures of camp, as well as several from Lambert’s.

When I was stepping into a skit during the closing campfire last friday, I asked my friend Ray to take some pictures and he ended up taking a video of part of the Knob Lick Knickerbockers skit, a spoof on the Knob Lick Knockers skit that we do every opening campfire.  S-F Scout Ranch is in Knob Lick, Missouri.  Knob Lick Knockers is a skit about a “model patrol” and how to set up your campsite for a good week of camp.  The Knickerbockers have Jeeves.  Check it out:

There are quite a few things that may be changing for next summer.  I hope they all change for the best.  I look forward to the future.  2010 is the 100th Anniversary of Scouting.  Hopefully it will be here for another 100 years.  I look forward to doing my part to ensure its continuation as boys need to understand the value of citizenship, leadership, service, and the outdoors.

Eating lunch outside of Astronaut's Hall.

OneRepublic @ DU

OneRepublic performed a sort of “impromptu” concert in the middle of the University of Denver’s campus during DU’s annual May Days celebration.  The band’s management approached the University of Denver Programming Board on Tuesday about coming to campus on Wednesday and performing a short set for FREE!  Who wouldn’t want that?

The short concert was promoted on Facebook as a “surprise” that students should show up for. The band came, performed, took pictures, and left. The set was short (All The Right Moves, Apologize, & Secrets – their new single), but it was quite awesome!  The band literally had some instruments put in the middle of the Driscoll Green, a circle of students formed, and then they walked up and started playing.  There were no microphones or speakers, but I believe they did film the performance for some online site (which one I am not sure).

Best May Days ever!

I have videos of the first two songs they performed.  I apologize for the low quality – my camera microphone isn’t necessarily the best.

OneRepublic Performing Live at the University of Denver - Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I also got a picture with Ryan Tedder, the lead singer:

Me and Friends with Ryan Tedder at OneRepublic's Live Performance at the University of Denver

Someone else got video of “Secrets”.  The quality is a bit lower than mine – but hey, you can see me in the video 🙂