The Eagle Court of Honor was happily moving along. Several speakers had inspired the audience and Scouts alike, then the final speaker before the actual presentation took the podium. He spoke about another Eagle Scout he’d recently read about… One who went on after Eagle to earn a fistful of palms and virtually every merit badge available: over one hundred! His commentary on this feat was, instead of praise, an admonition. To that recollected Scout he offered, “Get a life!”
Get a life? Isn’t that exactly what that young man had been doing? It struck me that this insulting speaker was either insensitive, jealous, clueless, or some combination of all three.
Get a life? The merit badge program offered by the Boy Scouts for nearly ten decades does exactly that! This young man had, in the course of his quest, learned about things that no school, club, team, church group, or other extracurricular activity offers. He learned about aviation, veterinary medicine, American cultures, canoeing, fire safety, public health, wilderness survival, metalwork, fly fishing, composite materials, theater, Indian lore, astronomy, space exploration, shotgun shooting, drafting, farm mechanics, railroading, surveying, textiles, truck transportation, dentistry, pulp and paper, and the learning and skills go on and on! I challenge anyone to name another youth program that offers this breadth of subjects—all learned-by-doing; not by page-turning or having to listen to someone jawbone.
Get a life? Not hardly! Scouting is about life!
To this speaker, and anyone else who feels inclined to disparage the sorts of things a young man can learn and do and experience in the adventure called the Scouting program, I have a suggestion: Get a life.
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