Our son Brett just received his Eagle rank from the Boy Scouts in a very nice ceremony held this past Saturday. For his Eagle project, he organized the writing and printing of a trail guide for the Flint Ridge State Memorial, documenting the history and significance of the site to the Native Americans and the early pioneers. It was only natural that he wanted to hold his ceremony in the shelter house at there Flint Ridge. The families of Troop 2, as well as friends and family members from four different states, all came together for a wonderful recognition ceremony.
The Master of Ceremonies for the event was my father, who had been my Scoutmaster, and who helped me to earn my Eagle rank back in 1979. I’ve served as my boys’ scout leader for the past ten years; it’s my way of paying back my father by paying it forward to my sons and their friends.
Only two out of every 100 boys who join Scouting will ever achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Brett was reminded, as was I in my time, that the Eagle trail never ends. Once an Eagle, always an Eagle. Others throughout your life will expect you to exemplify all the highest ideals of the Scouting program. It’s inspiring to see your son step up to take on the challenge of living a worthy life.
Still, I was also reminded of our human nature during the weekend as well. Carol and I grounded Brett a week ago and took away his video games because of his poor attitude at home. There’s also no need for me to pretend that I always uphold the Scout Oath and Law every minute of my life. We’re all human, and we all stumble and fall, Eagle Scouts included. It has taken me a long time to realize we don’t need to be perfect, that it’s more important to simply keep trying – those 98% of boys who didn’t achieve their Eagle rank still benefited from their efforts in the program.
Gary Watson delivered the invocation and benediction to Brett’s Eagle ceremony this past weekend. His words were powerful and touched me. I’m ending this post by sharing them with you:
Most gracious heavenly Father, we come to you this day thanking you for your abundant blessings. Lord we ask you to join us in this celebration of Brett attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. Use this ceremony Lord to inspire vision and to encourage his troop to follow in the Eagle path. Help us give well deserved praise and honor, and to also realize that becoming an Eagle Scout is not so much a destination, but a way of life. We acknowledge your guidance in helping both boys and adults to work together to build leadership and appreciation of the outdoors, even when we were unaware of Your presence. Lord, You forged the hills and mountains these young men have hiked and climbed. Your hands formed the lakes and oceans we swam. You know each animal and plant we have watched with wonder and awe. You protected us from the elements, provided the food to cook and eat, and empowered the fires that warmed us. You are the one who sharpens our minds every day to learn skills and facts, knots and first aid, how to lead and how to follow. Lord, continue to watch over Brett as he grows into a young man and give the adults the patience and wisdom to guide Brett, as well as the other Eagles-to-be. In your precious Son’s name we pray. Amen.
We thank you, God, for the opportunity to come together as family, friends, leaders and fellow scouts on this significant day in Brett’s life. We thank you God for your support of everyone who has helped guide Brett on his Eagle Trail. We are grateful for the scouting experiences and opportunities that have led to this day. Help Brett to live up to the honor, responsibility, and expectations that this Eagle award represents. Help him wear this title with pride and distinction, as an example to others. Help him Lord to fly in your presence with the wings of an eagle. Brett, may you soar. May God’s breath fill your wings and carry you to your destiny. May you continue to grow in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man. May you keep yourself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. May you lead by influence and not by title alone. May you lead with that delicate mix of humility, strength, example, and force. May you build into the lives of other young men – future Eagles – for all of your days. And…may the great Scoutmaster of all Scouts be with us until we meet again.