On Sunday night I returned to my homeland to watch a young man I have known for the last 14 years accomplish something not a lot of men are able to do. My friend got his Eagle Scout. He and I share something in common - we both made it to the ripe old age of 16, got a vehicle, met girls and sort of forgot about going to Eagle. Both of us, as time drew closer to age 18, felt impressed to revisit the goal and to achieve it. (My friend finished his 3 weeks prior to his 18th birthday. I finished mine 3 HOURS prior to my 18th Birthday.)
Since being awarded my Eagle, I have only seen it used once in my life directly - and that was for a job interview at a grocery store in Idaho (Literally three questions in the Interview: Are you really an Eagle Scout? Can you start at 6 AM? When can you start?). For the most part, I have worked for women owned or women ran companies. On more than one occasion I have had to explain what an Eagle Scout Rank is and what it took to obtain it. Often people don't care.
So it might seem, at times that what I did, 14 years ago, was a waste. It was something that has little meaning if those who you show it to have no understanding what it is. (almost like when one of my roommates shows me how he beat this certain hard level at his video game. I don't play video games so the concept is lost on me).
It would seem like it was a waste - that is until you start listening to the Scout Oath and Scout Law and think about what Boy Scouts gave me. One of the comments several current and past employers have said is that I tend to over think the job. I tend to look at different potential problems from all angles and so when a problem occurs, I usually have a solution for it. Sometimes I have more than one. I think comes from many trips with young men who don't plan ahead. As much as I hate camping - I think camping is vital to learning how to function in the world. No where else can you really learn to plan ahead. If you go camping and there is a chance of rain and you don't bring your rain jacket - you learn rather quickly that you just can't run inside and get it. If you are out hiking and someone trips and gets bruised up - you figure out that the only bandages you have are the ones with you and that you can't call 911 to rescue you or look up on google how to survive.
I look at the fact that at work I am often given assignments and I complete them quickly and efficiently. One way I was taught this as a boy was by having merit badge requirements. Merit badges teach a skill and have requirements for practicing and reviewing that skill. A boy must present a goal, go do the goal and return and report to their merit badge counselor. This is much like getting an assignment at work, figuring out how you are going to do it, doing it, and then returning to your boss.
In each troop and patrol, a boy is given a job or an assignment. This chore or assignment is usually something that is beneficial to everyone in the group. (like who is bringing treats each week) By having a little assignment and completing it, a boy learns to be responsible and to be accountable for their actions. One thing that people often say is that they can count on me. If I say I'm going to do something - I do it. By being a boy scout - the boy learns to accept assignments and fulfill them. As he fulfills assignments, people begin to rely on him and trust him.
So in summary - I don't know if the actual award has done me any good, but the way I was shaped and molded as I reached toward that rank has greatly benefited me in life as I think it does every boy that succeeds at scouting.
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