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SM Minute Archive

12/17/15
Remember Scout Slogan: Do a Good Turn Daily by doing nice things (examples).

During the upcoming holidays, may you remember to be…

Trustworthy enough to not peek at your gifts under the tree
Loyal enough to celebrate the season with your family – yes, all of them
Helpful enough to contribute to those less fortunate than you
Friendly enough not lose your cool in the holiday craziness
Courteous enough to not tackle someone for that last item on sale
Kind enough to include your dog, cat or hamster or other pet in the holidays
Obedient enough to behave during those boring or frustrating times
Cheerful enough to spread the holiday wishes to everyone you see
Thrifty enough to avoid being entirely broke when the season is over
Brave enough to face the cold weather
Clean enough to only share nice words and thoughts during the season
And, most of all…
Reverent enough to remember that this season is really all about God, whether it’s a festival of lights or the birth of a Savior.
Have a Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, and a Joyous New Year!

12/10/15
No SM Min.  SM in late Philmont meeting.

12/3/15
No SM Min.  Out on field too late.

11/19/15
I've always wondered why the Scout Law doesn't include "A Scout is THANKFUL"?  If up to me, I would add that one as the 13th point of the Scout Law (or replace Clean for it!).

A thankful Scout sees that he is blessed with good things – food, family, friends, freedom, and even fun. He has opportunities for adventure and excitement that many other boys do not get.

A thankful Scout understands that the world does not owe him anything. He realizes that he's very fortunate compared to the rest of the world.

Then, what should a thankful Scout DO? Just saying that I'm thankful doesn't count for much, just like SAYING I'm trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, etc, ... doesn't mean much by itself. I have to DO something to show what living the Scout Law in my everyday life means.  Consider these:
I'm Thankful for being free to make my own choices, so I'm Trustworthy by telling the truth.
I'm Thankful for my patrol mates, so I'm Loyal to them by pitching in with hard tasks and working as a team.
I'm Thankful for Scouts that have taught me, so I'm Helpful to younger Scouts.
I'm Thankful for my friends, so I'm Friendly to people around me that don't seem to have friends.
I'm Thankful for the efforts of the SPL and other leaders, so I'm Courteous and quiet while they speak.
I'm Thankful for being accepted into this Troop, so I'm Kind to Webelos and welcome them to my troop.
I'm Thankful for my home and family, so I Obey my parents.
I'm Thankful that I have free time and opportunities to have fun, so I'm Cheerful even while working.
I'm Thankful for the money people give me for fundraising, so I'm Thrifty when buying food and gear for camping.
I'm Thankful for the soldiers, policemen, firefighters, and others that protect us from danger, so I'm Brave when faced with a scary situation.
I'm Thankful for the wonders of nature and being able to camp in the beautiful outdoors, so I leave the campsite Clean when we're done.
I'm Thankful for every day I wake up with more life to live, so I'm Reverent to my God.

When I sit around the Thanksgiving table with my family next week, I will be thankful for being your Scoutmaster.  What will you be thankful for?

11/12/15
No SM Minute.  SM Absent.

11/5/15
No SM Minute.  Scouts bolted too soon.

10/29/15
Lord Baden-Powell, November, 1936:

"LEADERSHIP is the keynote to success– but leadership is difficult to define, and leaders are difficult to find. I have frequently stated that “any ass can be a commander, and a trained man may often make an instructor; but a leader is more like the poet– born, not manufactured.”

"I could tell you of leaders whom I have found and how I found them– but that is another story.

"One can say, however, that there are four essential points to look for in a leader:

1. He must have whole-hearted faith and belief in the rightness of his cause so that his followers catch the contagion, and share his fanaticism.
2. He must have a cheery, energetic personality, with sympathy and friendly understanding of his followers, and so to secure their enthusiastic co-operation.
3. He must have confidence in himself through knowing his job. He thus gains the confidence of his men.
4. What he preaches he must himself-practise, thereby giving personal example to his team.

The essentials of leadership might, in telegraphic brevity, be summed up as “Comradeship and Competence.”

10/22/15
Circle Up with prayer for ASM Rodriguez's mother

10/15/15
No SM Minute - inspirational video from guest speaker Lt. Co. Krigel

10/8/15
Story of Walter Johnson? ("The SM Minute" book, p. ***, ***bottom)

10/1/15
No SM Minute.  Woodbadge Reception

9/24/15
It takes courage to face your fears... ("The SM Minute" book, p. 42, bottom)

9/17/15
Sometimes we're afraid to try something new...("The SM Minute" book, p. 84, top)

9/10/15
Wonderful actor.  Often played tough guy, but a sensitive one, and known as "The Duke".  1926-1976.  Died in 1979, 35 years ago.  I was around same age as many of you at the time, but I remember him.  Above all he was a great American.

One of his last public appearances was at a dinner. He was riddled with cancer and knew he was close to death. The purpose of the dinner was to benefit a land purchase for a Scout Reservation called John Wayne Outpost Camp.

At this dinner, Wayne recited the Scout Law. Then he did something unusual. He said the twelve points of the Scout Law are "nice words". "Trouble is" he continued, "we learn them so young we sometimes don't get all the understanding that goes with them. I take care of that in my family. As each boy reaches Scout age, I make sure he learns the Scout Law. Then I break it down for him, with a few things I have picked up in more than half a century since I learned it."

Then Wayne proceeded to explain the importance of the Scout Law, breaking it down for the guests at the dinner; much like he would have for his grandson.

TRUSTWORTHY
The badge of honesty. Having it lets you look at any man in the eye. Lacking it, he won't look back. Keep this one at the top of your list.
LOYAL
The very word is life itself; for without loyalty we have no love of person or country
HELPFUL
Part sharing, part caring. By helping each other, we help ourselves; not to mention mankind. Be always full of help -- the dying man's last words.
FRIENDLY
Brotherhood is part of that word. You can take it in a lot of directions - and do - but make sure and start with brotherhood.
COURTEOUS
Allow each person his human dignity; which means a lot more than saying, "Yes, ma'am" and "Thank you, sir." It reflects an attitude that later in life you wish you had honored more... earlier in life. Save yourself that problem. Do it now.
KIND
This one word would stop wars and erase hatreds. But it's like your bicycle, it's just no good unless you get out and use it.
OBEDIENT
Starts at home. Practice it in your family. Enlarge it in your friends. Share it with humanity.
CHEERFUL
Anyone can put on a happy face when the going is good. The secret is to wear it as a mask for your problems. It might surprise you how many others do the same thing.
THRIFTY
Means a lot more than putting pennies away; and it is the opposite of cheap. Common sense covers it just about as well as anything.
BRAVE
You don't have to fight to be brave. Millions of good, fine, decent folks show more bravery than heavyweight champs just by getting out of bed every morning, going out to do a good day's work, and living the best life they know how against the law of odds. Keep the word handy every day of your life.
CLEAN
Soap and water helps a lot on the outside. But it is the inside that counts, and don't ever forget it.
REVERENT
Believe in anything that you want to believe in, but keep God at the top of it. With Him, life can be a beautiful experience. Without Him, you are just biding time.

John Wayne then thanked those at the dinner for putting his name on the outpost camp and said, "I would rather see it here than on all the theater marquees the world over." 

5/7/15
No SM Min.  Did "Circle Up" Vespers.

4/30/15
Here’s a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “Happiness is produced not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.” Some adults waste away their lives, and their money, waiting for the day when they’ll “hit it big” in the state lottery or some similar fortune. All they think they need is to win a million bucks, and then they’ll be happy. The problem is, of course, that that day is highly unlikely to ever happen for them. Ben Franklin suggests a much surer thing: Grab onto those little advantages that come your way every day. Perhaps it’s your patrol leader or an older Scout offering to teach you some knots or other skill you need to advance; on the surface it’s not a big thing, but take advantage of the offer—it’ll make you a little bit better Scout than you were before. By steadily improving your Scout skills, by working toward the next rank, one requirement at a time, you’ll gradually work yourself into a position in which you’re prepared to go for some of the big things in Scouting — like Philmont or some other high-adventure trek.

4/23/15
If you ever get discouraged, consider this fellow: He dropped out of grade school, ran a country store, went broke, spent 15 years paying off his bills, married, became unhappy in his marriage, ran for the House of Representatives and lost twice, ran for the Senate and lost twice, delivered a speech that left his audience indifferent, was attacked daily by the press and was despised by half the country. Despite all this, imagine how many people all over the world have been inspired by this awkward, rumpled, brooding man who signed his name simply: A. Lincoln

4/16/15
Robert Baden Powell:

"IN the Headquarters Report of one of our Oversea branches it is stated that a large percentage of decrease in numbers of Scouts occurs in about the third month of their service in the Movement, and Scoutmasters are warned to look into their method of handling Scouting to make sure that it meets the expectation of the lads.

"I don’t know how far such defection goes on among our Scouts in Britain, but I do know that very much the same thing happened in the army some years ago, when a considerable proporiton of the recruits took to deserting after about three months of service.

"In my own regiment I looked into the matter from the young soldier’s point of view, and I realised that he had figured to himself all the romance and swagger of thelr soldier’s life before he enlisted, and afterwards found that he was condemned to a long period of drill and discipline in recruit’s clothing and practically imprisoned within the barrack walls.

"It was at that time that I tried the experiment of Scouting among young soldiers, and I got them to learn their soldiering for themselves through interest instead of having it dinned into them by interminable drill and routine.

"In a very short while desertion ceased and the men became efficient in half the time.

"They found that soldiering was, after all,  a game instead of an infernal affliction."

June, 1922.

What did RBP mean? " Things that aren't fun suck."  Always work fun into your Scout program.

3/26/15
What you have said if you were Neil Armstrong stepping onto the moon...

3/19/15
Use kindness to oil friction ("The SM Minute" book, p. 128, last entry)

3/12/15
Respecting the flag and why

2/26/15
A Scoutmaster's Prayer (at Interfaith Worship Service)

A little boy came knocking
At my Scout room door.

An awfully little fellow
Just twelve and no more.

His eyes danced as he watched
My gang at rowdy play.

"I would like to be a Scout," he said,
"I'm just 12 just yesterday."

In the weeks to come he found his place,
A trim young Scout he made.

The tests he passed with eagerness,
A thorough job sure paid.

The oath, the laws, the knots and flag.
Were taken to his heart.

A better man he was sure to be
Tho he'd just begun to start

By the candle-lighted darkness
I watched his round face beam

As the oath and law he pledged to keep--
Just like a prayer it seemed.

The years to come were happy ones
As we followed the trail--

That greater man had laid for us
Far up where eagles sail.

I watched him grow from boy to man
The days were far too few,

To try to teach the important things
That Scouting said were true.

I didn't know so long ago
Our nation he would defend,

I only saw a job to do,
A helping hand to lend.

Now he's flying higher still
With silver wings up there.

I pray to God the job I did
Was better than just fair.

He thanked me once for what I did
So many years ago.

It was not his thanks that paid me
Because he did not know

That greater thanks he'd given me
A thousand times before

By his dancing eyes and smiling face--
Could one ask for more?

There are other boys a-knocking,
I must invite them in.

Please, God, give me strength
To make them better men.

2/12/15
Imagine a man walking down a corridor.

At intervals along the floor of the corridor are various keys. The man stops to pick some up keys and leaves others. Sometimes he swaps the keys. Maybe he cannot hold all of the keys. Perhaps he is lazy and does not choose to pick up a particular key.

He comes to a large room with many, many doors. Each door can be unlocked with a key. A few doors are already open. The man looks at the doors and reads the signs on them. Some of the doors interest him very much, while others hold no interest for him. Unfortunately, a few of the very attractive doors require keys that he did not pick up, so he cannot open them.

The keys are opportunities. The corridor is your life. The room is a crossroad where you have to make a choice in your life. The doors are goals or rewards.

If you do not grab the opportunities as you travel through life, you will not be able to unlock the door to your goal or reward.

So, for example:

Get good grades NOW!! - so that scholarships, education choices and even jobs become available to you.

Advance NOW!! - so that you can finish your Eagle requirements before life throws roadblocks in your path.

Exercise NOW!! - So that you can make sports teams whenever you try out and remain in good health as you age.

Pick up the keys NOW!! - So that you can open the doors that interest you.

1/29/15
Story of Damon & Pythias from "The SM Minute" book, p. 8.

1/15/15
An old mule fell into a farmer’s abandoned well. The farmer heard the mule screaming for a long time, but had no way to easily save him.  Eventually, the mule became quiet and the farmer, thinking him dead or too badly injured to save, decided that the best thing to do was to put him out his misery by burying him there and sealing up the well.

So, he called his neighbors together and enlisted their help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well.

Initially, as the dirt came down the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling, a thought struck him. It dawned on
him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he could shake it off and step up! This he did, shovelful after shovelful. “Shake it off and step up .... Shake it off and step up .... Shake it off and step up!” He repeated it to encourage himself.

No matter how tired he grew, or how hopeless the situation seemed, the mule fought panic and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up.  And, eventually the old mule, battered and exhausted, got up high enough in the well to step over the wall to safety.  What might have buried him actually helped him, all because of the way he handled his bad situation.

It's the same way in life! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity, then the problems that come along to bury us usually have a potential to benefit us.

1/8/15
In 1968 a sophomore at Harvard University named Kent Keith wrote a guide for people to finding meaning when faced with adversity.  It's called The Paradoxical Commandments.  It sort of reminds me of the Scout Law so I want to share it with you.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.


12/18/14
What is the most important word in the Scout Law?

(Scouts call out guesses..) 
Trustworthy? NO.
Helpful? NO.
Reverent? NO.

All good answers but not the correct one.  Let me tell you. The most important word in the scout law is the word "IS". 

The Scout Law doesn't say a Scout 'might be' trustworthy, or 'may be' loyal, or 'could be' helpful or 'should be' kind - it says a Scout IS. It's mandatory not an option.  It part of your basic character.

So, continue to live by the Scout Law, keep up the good work and have a wonderful holiday.  See you next year.

12/11/14
Once there was a big group of frogs that arranged a hopping competition.  The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants.

The race began with hundreds of frogs of all sizes, madly hopping up the steps of the tower.  But, no one in the crowd actually believed that any of the frogs would reach the top - it was just way too high.

They said things like, "Man, that's a tall tower!" and "No way any frog can hop all the way up there!"  And, sure enough, some of the frogs couldn't even hop up the first few steps before collapsing.

But, some kept hopping higher. And the crowd continued to yell, "It's too difficult! No one will make it!" And, still more of the frogs got tired and stopped.

Eventually there were only a few frogs continuing upwards. The crowd yelled, "Those steps are too high. The sun is shining too hot. They have to turn back!" 

And, sure enough, all the frogs finally turned around, having failed to reach the top. All except one - one very tiny, very determined little frog. He continued to hop, hop, up stair after stair until he finally found himself at the very top, all alone, looking down at the crowd far below.

The crowd waved and cheered and he waved back. Then, he eventually hopped back down to the ground - which was much easier than hopping up.

When he got to the bottom, everyone crowded around him and asked, "HOW did you do it?" "You're so small, where did you get the strength?" "How did you out-hop all these other frogs?"

And, the frog just said, "EH? What's that?  What did you say?" - This frog was deaf.

To reach your goals, sometimes you need to be deaf to negativity, ignore the pessimism of others and just believe in yourself.


12/4/14
On any tombstone you will see two dates - the date of birth and the date of death. All that separates those two dates is a Dash. Just a simple, single line that represents everything that person did from birth to death.
 
Like everyone else, I don't know how long my Dash of life will be. For some, unfortunately it's a quick sprint while others have a long, long journey.

But, regardless, we can have an impact of what that Dash represents on our own tombstone to people that met us and knew us.  We can try to understand and feel for other people. We can be quicker to smile and slower to anger. We can show respect and be ready to lend a hand. We can try to live according to the Law and Oath we say each week. 

When we die, as everyone of us eventually will, that Dash will mean something to all who knew us. So, let's do what we can to make our Dash meaningful.

Or, as the poet Linda Ellis said, "It matters not how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash.  What matters most is how we live and how we spend our dash."


11/20/14
I've always wondered why the Scout Law doesn't include "A Scout is THANKFUL"?  If up to me, I would add that one as the 13th point of the Scout Law (or replace Clean for it!). 

A thankful Scout sees that he is blessed with good things – food, family, friends, freedom, and even fun. He has opportunities for adventure and excitement that many other boys do not get.

A thankful Scout understands that the world does not owe him anything. He realizes that he's very fortunate compared to the rest of the world.

Then, what should a thankful Scout DO? Just saying that I'm thankful doesn't count for much, just like SAYING I'm trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, etc, ... doesn't mean much by itself. I have to DO something to show what living the Scout Law in my everyday life means.  Consider these:
  • I'm Thankful for being free to make my own choices, so I'm Trustworthy by telling the truth.
  • I'm Thankful for my patrol mates, so I'm Loyal to them by pitching in with hard tasks and working as a team.
  • I'm Thankful for Scouts that have taught me, so I'm Helpful to younger Scouts.
  • I'm Thankful for my friends, so I'm Friendly to people around me that don't seem to have friends.
  • I'm Thankful for the efforts of the SPL and other leaders, so I'm Courteous and quiet while they speak.
  • I'm Thankful for being accepted into this Troop, so I'm Kind to Webelos and welcome them to my troop.
  • I'm Thankful for my home and family, so I Obey my parents.
  • I'm Thankful that I have free time and opportunities to have fun, so I'm Cheerful even while working.
  • I'm Thankful for the money people give me for fundraising, so I'm Thrifty when buying food and gear for camping.
  • I'm Thankful for the soldiers, policemen, firefighters, and others that protect us from danger, so I'm Brave when faced with a scary situation.
  • I'm Thankful for the wonders of nature and being able to camp in the beautiful outdoors, so I leave the campsite Clean when we're done.
  • I'm Thankful for every day I wake up with more life to live, so I'm Reverent to my God.
When I sit around the Thanksgiving table with my family next week, I will be thankful for being your Scoutmaster.  What will you be thankful for?


11/13/14
We spend quite a bit of time learning how to 'Leave No Trace' on our camping trips. We take extra care to ensure that we leave as little impact as possible and let others enjoy the unspoiled outdoors. But, you all know that no matter how hard we try, we do leave a trace – a footstep, some matted down grass, a broken twig.

When camping, we concentrate on the 'physical' traces we leave behind. But, every day, we leave OTHER traces of ourselves. Everywhere you go, everyone you meet, and everything you do leaves a trace that you were there. If you tell a sibling to shut up, that can leave an ugly trace that takes a long time to heal. By the same token, if you thank your mom for being a great mom, that leaves a good trace that lasts a lifetime.  No matter how long you interact with someone - a few hours, a few minutes or even a few seconds - you leave a trace of your passing.

But it’s up to YOU whether to leave a trace that makes the world a better or worse place.

You may not think a cheerful 'Hello' to a kid at school, or a courteous 'Thank You' to someone, or a helpful holding open of a door open for a stranger, or a friendly smile to a small child you don't know makes any difference – but I assure you it does!

So, remember, no matter what you do, you WILL leave a trace. Just be sure to make it a GOOD trace.


11/6/14
Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, wrote many books and articles on the subject of Scouting.  Here's one of them.

"ONCE when I was at sea in a fishing yacht owned by my brothers, we ran onto the rocks. I thought that all was up with us, and was anxiously watching my eldest brother, our skipper, for a sign to get into a life-belt and take to the life boat; but when at length he looked at me it was to glare and shout angrily, “Look out for that boat-hook, which is slipping away under your very nose.”

When I found that he was thinking of such details as this I began to recognise that the danger was not overwhelming, and that by attention to minor steps we might pull through successfully and without loss; which we eventually did. So it is with the Boy Scout Movement. Nervous souls seem to apprehend disintegration of the Movement owing to the war taking the best of our Commissioners and Scoutmasters. I am all the more delighted then to see that there are those who are “looking out for the boat-hook,” who are doing their “Scout business as usual.” In taking away a number of our Commissioners and Scoutmasters the war is in reality doing a great good to the Movement. It could not have come at a more opportune moment for forcing upon us what I have always urged, namely, the value of the Patrol system and the usefulness of the Patrol Leaders if only they are properly trained and invested with responsibility.  May, 1915"

What is he telling us in this passage about leadership?  Take leadership opportunities seriously.  Patrol Leaders: keep your eyes on the details.  Patrol Members: support your Patrol Leader and learn from him because you never know when you'll be the one needing the boat-hook.


10/30/14
Way back in the 1968 Olympics, Bob Beamon set a longjump record that many thought would never be broken. A young boxer named George Foremen won a gold medal and paraded around the ring with an American flag, instilling pride in many Americans. But, one athlete named John Stephen Akhwari from Tanzania, a marathon runner, probably made the longest lasting impression on people during those Olympics. 

While he was running his race, he stumbled and fell, severely injuring his knee and ankle. After receiving first aid, he did what no one expected and he got back in the race. Long after everyone else had finished and left, he limped into the near empty stadium to the cheers of a small crowd that was still there and he finished his final lap.
 
When asked why he continued the race after he was so badly hurt with no chance to win he replied: "My country did not send me 7,000 miles to begin a race - they sent me to finish the race". 

Do each of you accept responsibility to finish a task when you start one or do you take the easy way out when the going gets tough? Do you keep your promises when you make them, even the ones you make to yourself? Even if everything you have is taken from you, you will still have your word, and no one can ever take that away.  A man who doesn't keep his word will not be respected or trusted. What kind of man does each of you want to be known as?

10/23/14
There was a mountain climber that decided to climb a famous mountain all alone, so he could be the first solo climb.

He started climbing and it was becoming later and later. He decided to keep on going because the summit was not that far ahead. Soon it got dark, very dark with overcast and no stars or moon. Everything was black. 

At about 200 feet from the summit, he slipped and fell. He skidded a ways and then flew right off a sheer cliff, straight down.

He kept falling. He thought certainly he would die. But then he felt a jolt that almost tore him in half. Fortunately, he had staked himself with a long rope tied to his waist.

In those moments of stillness, suspended in the air he had no other choice but to shout, "HELP ME GOD, HELP ME!"
All of a sudden, he heard a deep voice from heaven, "What do you want me to do?"
"SAVE ME"
"Do you REALLY think that I can save you?"
"OF COURSE, GOD."
"Then cut the rope that is holding you up."

There was another moment of silence and stillness.
The man just held tighter to the rope.

The next morning, a rescue team found a frozen mountain climber hanging from a rope...

... THREE FEET above the ground.


10/16/14
Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous author of Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde suffered throughout his short life from respiratory illness and spent many years looking for a climate that would cure him.

He died of tuberculosis at the age of 41 and is buried on Samoa. 

In spite of his considerable suffering, Stevenson lived by twelve positive attitude tips that I would like to share with you because they excellent rules to live by.
  • Make up your mind to be happy; learn to find pleasure in simple things.
  • Make the best of your circumstances: Everyone has problems. The trick is to make laughter outweigh the tears.
  • Don't take yourself too seriously; Don't think that somehow you should be protected from misfortunes that befall others.
  • You can't please everybody, so don't let criticism worry you.
  • Don't let your neighbor set your standards. Be Yourself.
  • Do the things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.
  • Don't borrow trouble. Imaginary burdens are harder to bear than real ones.
  • Hate poisons the soul, so don't carry grudges and try to avoid people who make you unhappy.
  • Have many interests; If you can't travel, read about new places.
  • Don't spend your life brooding over sorrows and mistakes.
  • Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.
  • Keep busy at something. A busy person never has time to be unhappy.
As each of you lives your life, remember his advice. Your attitude towards any given situation you encounter will almost always affect you far more than the situation. Attitude is everything.


10/9/14
In 1995 wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park.
Wolves prey on elk, elk feed on aspen trees.
When there were fewer elk there were more aspens.
More aspens mean more beavers who feed on and build with aspens.
More beavers mean more beaver dams, and beaver dams change the course of rivers.
More aspens also stabilize river banks, and this also changes the course of rivers.
 
It’s amazing, but true: just by re-introducing wolves to Yellowstone Park nearly twenty years ago changed the course of rivers.
 
Scientists call this natural system a “trophic cascade”. “Trophic” refers to the food chain, and “cascade” describes how top-level predators (like wolves) affect other species down the food chain and the environment they all share.
 
Every Scout has the chance to go camping and see the great cycles of nature like trophic cascades up close (well, hopefully when it comes to top-level predators, not too close!).  We can learn a lot about ourselves from observing the natural world.
 
The trophic cascades that wolves caused in Yellowstone makes me think for a moment about the cascading effect of what we say and what we do every day.  It’s all there in the Scout law: When we are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent our own happiness cascades to those around us. Our actions and decisions effect our environment; they create opportunity; they influence others.
 
Wolves occupy a specific role in nature, they don’t make many rational choices; but we make lots of choices every day. What we choose to say and how we choose to act can have negative or positive cascading effects.
 
So, when you make a choice, choose to follow the Scout oath and law, and the cascade that follows will always have a positive influence on those around you.