Today I attended my first Eagle Scout Court of Honor for the son of some dear friends of ours. I cried at several points as I watched three young men receive their Eagle Scout award. Being in that room with members of the community and special honored guests brought such a sense of pride in my heart for these young people who have worked so very hard.
It was a reverent occasion. It was an opportunity to show deep and solemn respect.
My husband is also an Eagle Scout, and many times, I’ve heard him quote the Scout Law. You may know it already: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” All those years as a scout impressed deep within him these traits that do, in fact, shape the way he lives.
I listened to the scouts and their mentors repeat the Scout Law, and I loved, in particular, the character qualities of being reverent, cheerful, and courteous. I suppose it’s because I feel like these character traits have become part of an ancient past. I teach some college students who unfortunately lack these traits in their interactions with me as a college instructor.
Without droning on about it, I will simply reveal to you that I also encounter many discourteous, demanding young adults in my profession. Sadly, I have taught students who tell lies. Over the years, I have had students who have no problem cheating, plagiarizing, or making up excuses about illnesses when in fact, they are recovering from partying. I have students who need help with personal grooming and bad attitudes. I have students who are simply unfriendly and unhelpful.
I do love all my students. I do want to believe the best about them. But today, I remember that there’s a way to live that is the better self, the braver self, the self that abides by different standards of behavior. I want this kind of living for my students.
I wish we all followed the Scout Law. Being in that room elevated my heart and mind once again to inspire myself, my children, and my community to live with this kind of integrity and character that blesses the world.