Nov 28 2008

My Personal Thanksgiving

Category: character,virtueamuzikman @ 12:59 am

I am an Eagle Scout.  I say that with no small amount of pride for I consider it to be one of my proudest achievements.  It is the highest award given by The Boy Scouts of America and it represents a great deal of commitment and hard work.  It also means I had some great fun and amazing experiences during my years in Scouting. Thankfully, (so far) the Eagle Scout Award is still recognized as a major milestone in the life of a young man and a positive reflection of leadership and character.   I know much of my character was shaped through Scouting and I will be forever grateful for how it helped my journey to manhood. I will also always hold a debt of gratitude to the wonderful men who gave of their time so selflessly and who willingly shared of themselves to help me and other boys navigate their path to manhood.

It is only now with the passage of years I can look back with clarity and see ways in which my character was forged.  The lessons were simple but profound, sometimes learned through planned activities many times just in the course of having fun in the outdoors.  Scouting taught me self-reliance when I had to cook my own food or go hungry.  I learned perseverance each time I lugged a full backpack to the top of a mountain.  Honesty and integrity were always before me, modeled by the men who guided me and provided opportunity. Responsibility came as I assumed leadership positions and learned to make decisions that affected others. Teamwork was always a priority in challenges and obstacles that could not be overcome alone.  Resourcefulness came as I learned to survive with only what I carried on my back for days at a time.  Through activities ranging from cooking to climbing, fire starting to map reading, mountain climbing to fence building I traveled the path from boyhood to manhood in the special camaraderie that is Scouting.

Time was always taken to consider character and to learn about virtue, often through stories.  Some of the most profound moments of my boyhood took place around a campfire as I listened to tales of Indian warriors, brave soldiers, intrepid explorers, and other heroes, both real and fictional.  Also from my first recitation as a Tenderfoot Scout to this very day I have never forgotten the Scout Oath and Law – noble ideals, the cornerstone of what it means to be a Scout.

One glance at the news headlines shows our country seems to be shedding virtues like a dog’s winter coat in the spring. Our great nation seems to have lost the virtue of self-reliance – we now have bailouts and handouts.  We don’t honor honesty or integrity, we tolerate lies and corruption.  We have no real leaders, only people who will do and say whatever they must to get what they want.  There is no sense of perseverance, instead we are quick to point a finger of blame and demand “justice” at the first sign of difficulty in our lives.

As for me, I want no bailout, no handout, no benefits I have not earned, no redistribution, rebate, or refund, nothing universal and nothing guaranteed.  I just want the freedom to succeed or fail by the sweat of my brow.  I want to live a life of freedom, virtue, character and strength and I want my children to learn to do likewise. Corny? Perhaps.  But the principles of Scouting were never meant to be trendy, they were meant to build leaders.

Our country has been blessed by many men who, as boys embraced Scouting, followed the Eagle trail, and then applied the lessons learned as adults.  In fact the list is pretty impressive. I am proud and thankful to count myself among them.


One Response to “My Personal Thanksgiving”

  1. Paul Bahn says:

    Well said Dave. I wish you had a large circulation with this blog. Perhaps the folks at World Net Daily would be interested. Maybe a voice from “John Q. Public” approach. You are articulating what many of us are thinking and feeling right now. Keep it coming.

    Paul Bahn

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