"We must change boys from a ’what can I take’ to ’what can I give’ attitude"
Founder of the Boy Scouts
As I mentioned in last week’s blog, one of my New Year’s resolutions has been to reach out to old friends that I haven’t seen in some time and to take the opportunity to meet some new people who can add a different perspective into my life.
So far... so good...
The reception that I’ve received when contacting good friends that I’ve been out of touch with has been overwhelmingly positive...
Generally over a meal, we tell stories... we laugh out loud... we share updates on our family and common friends... and we offer condolences upon the news of a departed loved one...
At the end of our get-together, there is often a note of regret for allowing the friendship to fade and make promises to one another that not as much time will be allowed to pass before we see each other again...
Of the many subjects that we talk about, there is none other more joyful as to hear my friends talk of their now-grown children.
Their pride doesn’t seem to be derived from the individual achievements of their kids but rather as a way of saying to me, "I think I did a fairly good job as a parent... my children have turned into self-sufficient and productive adults... and I deserve a little recognition for a job well done".
As our children grow up and aspire to leave our homes... we no longer seem to be obsessed with whether or not they are in the top echelon in their chosen field... or which friends they’ve chosen to be close to... or what kind of relationship they have with their boss...
Over the course of some 18-20 years, we had the opportunity to prepare our kids for a successful life and now it’s our turn to sit back and admire our hard work in action.
Not too long ago, I was talking with my friend Ed about the attributes we had hoped to instill in our kids when they were young and how they have incorporated those qualities into their lives.
We both were reciting several different characteristics that we hoped our children had grown to adopt when all of a sudden he exclaimed... "we just described the Boy Scout Oath and Scout Law"...
I had been a boy scout decades ago... but I still remember those words today...
"On my honor, I promise to do my best to God and my country and obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight"
The Scout Law referred to is as follows:
A Scout is:
Ed was right... these are exactly what traits we both wanted our grown children to possess...
I promise to do my best to God and my country...
To do their best... isn’t that what we all want from anyone? We don’t want them to talk about doing their best... no... we want people to DO their best... no matter what endeavor they choose to do...
Giving a half-effort or worse not doing it at all is a far worse crime than trying something... giving it your all... but falling short in the end...
We want the determination to get something done and not quit until the job is accomplished.
To help other people at all times...
We all have been helped in one way or another during the course of our lifetimes. It might have been our parents, our teachers, a mentor, a colleague, a friend, or complete strangers.
No one can survive without the help of others... including all of the anonymous people, who build our roads, keep us safe, grow our food, or sew our clothes...
It is our duty in life to give back whenever possible. Our ultimate goal should be to leave the planet in slightly better shape than when we entered it.
Helping others is a way to give back for everything that we have taken.
To keep myself physically strong...
We were all given just one body and we need to make it last a lifetime. As I’ve gotten a bit older... I watched as so many of my peers defer the maintenance of their body to some undetermined future date...
Everyone wants to be healthy... but wanting something and doing something about it are two very different things.
A healthy lifestyle is a choice... but it takes a certain amount of discipline and effort.
It’s not easy... but the rewards are worth the effort.
Not only do we need to condition our bodies... but we also need to work out our brains...
The mind and the body go hand-in-hand.
For the first 25 years of our lives, we are engulfed in learning new things either in school or at home... but as we get older... our learning slows significantly.
It’s not as though we are incapable of learning new things... but we now fill our lives with other things such as work, family or entertainment...
As medical science allows our bodies to live longer, more now than ever, we need to work even harder to keep our minds fit and aware... stretching our cerebral capabilities by using our brains to think rather than to strictly process information.
...and morally straight.
Attempting to legislating morality is a recipe for failure... so I am not here to explain what is moral and what is not...
But with that said... I’m sure that we could all agree on certain basic tenets of a moral society...
- Say what you’ll do and do what you say (the definition of integrity)...
- Don’t hurt people... physically or mentally
- Don’t take things belonging to other people
- Always tell the truth
- Exhibit kindness to others
- Don’t waste resources
- Be a friend to others in need
The Boy Scouts oath is 105 years old... but much of it still has relevance in today’s modern world.
These are many of the characteristics that I had hoped to teach my children so they were properly prepared to participate in the world as young adults.
There will be a day in the not-to-distant future when my generation will pass the torch to the younger generations just like our parents and grandparents did for us.
As I look around... I am pleased with the work of so many parents... raising fine young men and women to become the guardians of our future...
...who embody the high standards that we have set for ourselves and our children.
Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we applaud those who work so hard to build a better future.
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