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February 2016

ON THE TRAIL

Once a long time ago a hound was out with his owner trailing a mountain lion. The hound came to a place where a fox had crossed the trail, and the hound decided to follow the fox instead of the lion.

A short time later, a rabbit crossed that of the fox, and again the hound changed direction. Why should he chase a fox when a rabbit might be easier to catch?

When the hunter finally caught up with his hound, the dog was barking at a small hole in the ground. The hound had brought to bay a field mouse instead of a mountain lion.

Well, how about you? Have you set out on a trail to achieve your ambition? Are you able to follow it, or are you sidetracked by easier trails that cross it from time to time?

Don't be like that hound. Find out what it takes to achieve your ambition, and then get started. The best way to achieve anything in life is to set a true course for it and then stick to that trail.

Rich Martino
Scoutmaster

January 2016

10 Tips to Get Along

Here are 10 tips to improve how you relate to other people.

1. Smile at people - it takes sixty-five muscles to frown, only fifteen to smile
2. Call people by name - to do that, you need to learn their name
3. Speak to people - take a chance and approach someone new
4. Be friendly - if you would have friends, be one
5. Be cordial - speak and act as if everything that you do is a real pleasure
6. Be interested in people - find out what makes them tick
7. Be generous with praise - stingy with criticism.
8. Be considerate of the feelings of others - think what impact your words will have before you speak them
9. Be thoughtful of the opinions of others - there are three sides to a controversy; yours, the other person's, and the right one.
10. Be ready to serve - helping someone strengthens that bond of friendship.


December 2015


November 2015 - Thanksgiving

As Americans, we have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. We live in freedom, most of us have an abundance of food and clothing, and we all have adequate shelter. We are as blessed as any people in the world, but sometimes we forget that and gripe that we don't have even more. Let's remember that a lot of the world’s population goes to bed hungry in homes that few Americans would want to live in.

So it's good to remind ourselves occasionally that we are lucky and thank God for our blessings. That's what Thanksgiving really is, a time to give thanks. The Pilgrims started it more than 100 years ago when they gathered to thank God for a bountiful harvest.

Today Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings around a groaning table followed by watching football games. There's nothing wrong with that. But it's important that we don't forget the real meaning of Thanksgiving. So when you sit down with your family for Thanksgiving dinner, take time to count your blessings and thank God for them.



October 2015 - Failure Teaches Success

Failure is not a comfortable feeling and more often than not we have it in our lives. But if we can use it to measure what it takes to be successful then failing becomes a tool we can learn from. If we take the time to look at our failures it will teach us what we have to do to be successful. It forces us to self analyze who am I and what I did. Winning is an easy pill to take. Often swallowed rapidly, cherished and we move on. We must use failure as a teaching tool. If we don't take the time to learn from our failures then we have really failed at becoming successful and have gained nothing by failing. So failing teaches us how to be successful.

September 2015 - Take Care of What You've Got

Imagine that a Genie offers you any car in the world. The catch is that it is the only car you will ever own. What would you do?

You would read the manual ten times, change the oil twice as often as required, and you would take fastidious care so that that car remained the car of your dreams forever.

It will be too late to take care of your body and mind (and car) later on. You can maintain them, but it is hard or impossible to undo big mistakes or negligence later on. You do not want to end up with a wreck on your hands. Think about what this tells you about your body. You get only one mind and one body–the same ones you will have at 15, 20, 40, 60, etc. Take care of them and maximize their potential.

 

 

 

August 2015 - Setting the Example

In the patrol leaders council, we often talk about the skills of leadership. Patrol leaders who have taken the junior leader training course know even more about them. Of the 11 skills of leadership, I believe the most important is setting the example. There's an old saying that sums it up well. It goes something like this: "What you do speaks so loudly that I can't hear what you say. " In other words, don't tell me what is right; show me by your example.

It seems to me that when it comes to setting the example, we are all leaders. Even if you're not a patrol leader, the way you conduct yourself will rub off on your patrol mates. If one patrol member goofs off and is sloppy in his habits, there's a temptation to say, "Well, Brian gets away with it, why shouldn't I?"

That may be human nature, but it's not the nature of a good patrol or a good troop. A good patrol and troop have to work like a team, with every member setting a good example of Scout like behavior. Let's keep that in mind always, but especially when we're at troop meetings (or on a campout). Let's show our pride in our troop and in ourselves as Scouts and young men.

 

 

 

July 2015 - The Knot That Tells A Story

Scouts, if your rank is between Second Class and Life, take a look at your badge of rank. What do all those badges have in common?


That's right, they all have the "Be Prepared" scroll with a knot dangling from it. . Does anyone remember what the knot is supposed to remind us of?

Right again. It's a reminder to do a Good Turn every day. If the knot could talk, it would tell us of billions of Good Turns stretching back almost 100 years. Are you adding a chapter to that story each day?

Our troop often does big Good Turns for our chartered organization or the community. But does that mean that you can forget about Good Turns the rest of the time? Of course not. As Scouts you have pledged to do a Good Turn daily.

Obviously that doesn't mean you have to spend several hours on some major project.

But it does mean that at home, in school, and when you're with friends you will go out of your way to do a simple kindness - take out the garbage without being asked, help a buddy with his homework, or run an errand for your mother without grumbling.
Those little Good Turns make life more pleasant for other people. They also add another link in that long string of Good Turns going back to Scouting's beginnings.

 

 

June 2015 - Caring for Others.

There was a farm, where there lived farmer John with his wife Molly. They had pigs, cows and many animals on their farm. A little mouse also lived there. One day the mouse looked through small crack in the wall and accidentally saw how the farmer was opening some package. The mouse was curious what food may it contain and discovered that it was a mousetrap. The mouse was determined to run around the farmyard and warn all the animals regarding the danger. First of all he met the chicken. „There is a mousetrap in the house!” – the mouse declared with despair. But the chicken answered with indifference: „It does not concern me, as this is a danger for you, but not for me. It cannot bother me“. Then the mouse raced to the pig and the cow and told them about the mousetrap. But the pig and the cow where not impressed too. They said that from them there is no reason to worry about this and promised to pray about the mouse. Sad and depressed, the little mouse returned to the house.

In the night the farmer‘s wife Molly heard a sound of a mousetrap. She hurried to see what was in it, but due to the darkness she did not see that it was a poisonous snake, whose tail was caught by the trap. Suddenly the snake bit Molly. The farmer rushed with her to the hospital. Later, when they returned home, Molly still had a fever. John remembered that it is good to treat a fever with chicken soup, so he went to his farmyard to bring the main ingredient, the chicken. Whereas Molly‘s sickness continued and many friends came to visit her, the farmer butchered the pig so he could feed all the visitors. Unfortunately, as time went by Molly became weaker and weaker and one day she died. Many neighbors, relatives and friends have arrived to the funeral. John had to slaughter the cow to feed all of them. The mouse has been watching all that was happing with great sorrow.

Remember, when we learn that someone is facing difficulties or danger, all of us can be at risk. It is better to help and encourage one another and don‘t leave anyone alone with his problems.

 

 

May 2015 - Thinking "Out of the Box"

Many hundreds of years ago in a small Italian town, a merchant had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to the moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the merchant's beautiful daughter so he proposed a bargain. He said he would forgo the merchant's debt if he could marry the daughter. Both the merchant and his daughter were horrified by the proposal.

The moneylender told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty bag. The girl would then have to pick one pebble from the bag. If she picked the black pebble, she would become the moneylender's wife and her father's debt would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven. But if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.

They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the merchant's garden. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick her pebble from the bag.

What would you have done if you were the girl?
If you had to advise her, what would you have told her?
Careful analysis would produce three possibilities:

  1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.
  2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the moneylender as a cheat.
  3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.

The above story is used with the hope that it will make us appreciate the difference between lateral and logical thinking.

The girl put her hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles.

"Oh, how clumsy of me," she said. "But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked." Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked the white one. And since the moneylender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an advantageous one.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Most complex problems do have a solution, sometimes we have to think about them in a different way.

 

 

April 2015 - Why Are You in Scouting?

You know, there are more than a million Scouts in our country. I wonder how many of them will stay in Scouting and climb to the top, don’t you? Tell me, why are you in Scouting? So many boys enter Scouting for just one reason—to have fun. If you think that’s the only reason you’re in Scouting, believe me, there are other good reasons, too. Sure Scouting is fun. But a lot of other things are fun, too. If you’re just looking for fun, you can play all kinds of indoor and outdoor games; go to the movies, watch television—or a thousand other things. Scouting must be more than just fun for you. It must be a way of life, a law and an oath to which you are loyal. Unless you try to live Scouting, you’ll find that other kinds of fun are easier and you’ll quit.

The loyal Scout is dedicated to the Scout Oath and the 12 points of the Scout Law. He has a deeper reason for sticking than just having fun. He sees the importance of learning the Scout skills, of developing himself so that he can be prepared to face anything that comes. He wants to grow to be a real man. That’s why he’s loyal. That’s why he sticks. I hope you won’t ever quit until you’re up before a court of honor someday to get your Eagle Scout badge.

That will be one of the biggest days of your whole life— and mine, too.

 

 

 

 

 

March 2015 - That First Step

The Chinese have a saying, "The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step ". There's a lesson for us in that saying.

I'm thinking of advancement. If you come to troop meetings without ever looking in your Official Boy Scout Handbook all week long and if you never ask how to pass a test or who to see about a merit badge, you'll never advance very far in Scouting. In Scouting, and in life, the rewards don't come to those who sit back and wait for something to be handed to them on a silver platter.

I would like to see every one of you set the Eagle Scout badge as you goal in Scouting. As a step toward that goal, I hope that most of you will receive some award at our next court of honor.

Whatever the goal you set for yourself, remember that only you can take that first step toward it. No one can do it for you. Once you've taken that first step the next step becomes easier. And the ones after that will be easier still because you're on the way along the Scouting trail.

 

 

 

February 2015 - Choose A Door

Imagine a man walking down a corridor. At intervals along the floor of the corridor are keys. The man stops to pick some up keys and leaves others. 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 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 are very attractive. Some hold no interest for him. Unfortunately, a few of the very attractive doors require keys that he did not pick up, and he cannot open the doors.

The keys are opportunities. The corridor is your life. The room is a cusp (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.

Get good grades NOW!! so that doors remain open for you for scholarships, or even college.

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

Exercise NOW!! So that you will have a better opportunity to make the team next season.

Pick up the keys NOW!! So that you can open the doors when you want to or have to make a choice.

 

 

 

January 2015 - Caring for Tools

Tools are essential in making repairs around the house and in doing the kind of community Good Turn we're planning this month. You couldn't do the job without them. But they must be in good condition. If your hammer head is loose, the hammer becomes a dangerous weapon. If your saw blade is dull, it makes the work harder and you also run the risk of cutting yourself if the blade jumps out of the groove. And if your screwdriver's blade is all beat up, you're going to ruin a lot of screws.

Your character is like a set of tools. Think of your character as a set of attributes we talk about in the Scout Law - trustworthy, loyal, and helpful and so on. If you're not trustworthy, that part of your character is like a hammer with a loose head, you could be dangerous to others because no-one could depend on you to do what had to be done in an emergency. If you're not loyal, you're like a dull saw blade - not reliable when the chips are down. A good craftsman keeps his tools in excellent shape because they are his livelihood. A good Scout keeps his character in excellent shape because he knows that the attributes that make up his character are his most precious possession.

 

 

 

November 2014 - Shoes

One day, Gandhi was boarding a train. Unfortunately, one of his shoes slipped off his foot and landed by the train track. The train began to move away before he was able to retrieve the shoe. So, he casually removed his other shoe and, leaning out the door, threw it back down the track near the first shoe. Another passenger asked why in the world he would do such a thing. Gandhi replied that some poor man would find the first shoe which would be worthless by itself. But, now the man will have a pair of shoes he can use.

 

 

 

 

October 2014 - That First Step

The Chinese have a saying, "The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step ". There's a lesson for us in that saying. I'm thinking of advancement. If you come to troop meetings without ever looking in your Official Boy Scout Handbook all week long and if you never ask how to pass a test or who to see about a merit badge, you'll never advance very far in Scouting. In Scouting, and in life, the rewards don't come to those who sit back and wait for something to be handed to them on a silver platter. I would like to see every one of you set the Eagle Scout badge as your goal in Scouting. As a step toward that goal, I hope that most of you will receive some award at our next court of honor. Whatever the goal you set for yourself, remember that only you can take that first step toward it. No one can do it for you. Once you've taken that first step the next step becomes easier. And the ones after that will be easier still because you're on the way along the Scouting trail.

 

 

September 2014 - The Falcon and the Branch

Once there was a king who received a gift of two magnificent falcons. They were peregrine falcons, the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He gave the precious birds to his head falconer to be trained.

Months passed, and one day the head falconer informed the king that though one of the falcons was flying majestically, soaring high in the sky, the other bird had not moved from its branch since the day it had arrived.

The king summoned healers and sorcerers from all the land to tend to the falcon, but no one could make the bird fly.

He presented the task to the member of his court, but the next day, the king saw through the palace window that the bird had still not moved from its perch.

Having tried everything else, the king thought to himself, “May be I need someone more familiar with the countryside to understand the nature of this problem.” So he cried out to his court, “Go and get a farmer.”

In the morning, the king was thrilled to see the falcon soaring high above the palace gardens. He said to his court, “Bring me the doer of this miracle.”
The court quickly located the farmer, who came and stood before the king. The king asked him, “How did you make the falcon fly?”
With his head bowed, the farmer said to the king, “It was very easy, your highness. I simply cut the branch where the bird was sitting.”

We are all made to fly — to realize our incredible potential as human beings. But at times we sit on our branches, clinging to the things that are familiar to us. The possibilities are endless, but for most of us, they remain undiscovered. We conform to the familiar, the comfortable, and the mundane. So for the most part, our lives are mediocre instead of exciting, thrilling and fulfilling.

Let us learn to destroy the branch of fear we cling to and free ourselves to the glory of flight!

 

 

 

August 2014 - Little Deaf Frog

There was once 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.
Actually, no one in the crowd believed that any of the frogs would reach the top of the tower - 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.
The crowd continued to yell, "It's too difficult! No one will make it!" And, still more of the frogs got tired and stopped.
Now, there were only a few frogs continueing upwards. The crowd yelled, "Those steps are too hard. 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, 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 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 outhop all these other frogs?"
And, the frog just said, "EH? What's that?" - he was deaf.

To reach your goals, you need to ignore the pessimism of others and believe in yourself

 

 

July 2014 - Enjoy your life at every moment

Once there was a fisherman was sitting near the seashore, under the shadow of a tree, drinking a cool drink. Suddenly a rich businessman passing by approached him and enquired as to why he was sitting under a tree drinking and not working. To this the poor fisherman replied that he had caught enough fishes for the day.
Upon hearing this, the rich man got angry and said: Why don’t you catch more fishes instead of sitting in shadow wasting your time?

Fisherman asked: What would I do by catching more fishes?

Businessman: You could catch more fishes, sell them and earn more money, and buy a bigger boat.

Fisherman: What would I do then?

Businessman: You could go fishing in deep waters and catch even more fishes and earn even more money.

Fisherman: What would I do then?

Businessman: You could buy many boats and employ many people to work for you and earn even more money.

Fisherman: What would I do then?

Businessman: You could become a rich businessman like me.

Fisherman: What would I do then?

Businessman: You could then enjoy your life peacefully.

Fisherman: Isn’t that what I am doing now?

Moral – You don’t need to wait for tomorrow to be happy and enjoy your life. You don’t even need to be more rich, more powerful to enjoy life. LIFE is at this moment, enjoy it fully.
As some great men have said “My riches consist not in extent of my possessions but in the fewness of my wants”.

 

 

 

June 2014 - Clay Balls

A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man so he took the bag out of the cave with him.

As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could. He thought little about it until he dropped one of the balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone. Excited the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left.

Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he just threw it away. It's like that with people.

We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't always beautiful or sparkling so we discount it. We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person by God.

There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth. May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay.

May we see the people in our world as God sees them.

 

 

May 2014 - A pound of butter

There was a farmer who sold a pound of butter to the baker. One day the baker decided to weigh the butter to see if he was getting a pound and he found that he was not. This angered him and he took the farmer to court. The judge asked the farmer if he was using any measure. The farmer replied, you Honor, I don't have a proper measuring cup, but I do have a scale." The judge asked, "Then how do you weigh the butter?" The farmer replied "Your Honor, long before the baker started buying butter from me, I have been buying a pound loaf of bread from him. Every day when the baker brings the bread, I put it on the scale and give him the same weight in butter. If anyone is to be blamed, it is the baker."

What is the moral of the story? We get back in life what we give to others. Whenever you take an action, ask yourself this question: Am I giving fair value for the wages or money I hope to make? Honesty and dishonesty become a habit. Some people practice dishonesty and can lie with a straight face. Others lie so much that they don't even know what the truth is anymore. But who are they deceiving? Themselves

 

 

April 2014 - Potatoes, eggs, and coffee beans

Once upon a time a son complained to his father that his life was miserable and that he didn’t know how he was going to make it. He was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

His father, a chef, took him to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.

He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his son. The son, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.

After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to him he asked. “Son, what do you see?”

“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” he hastily replied.

“Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” He did and noted that they were soft. He then asked him to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, he observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked him to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to his face.

“Father, what does this mean?” he asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water.

However, each one reacted differently.

The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.

The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.

However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which are you,” he asked his son. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean? “

Moral:
In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us.

Which one are you?

 

March 2014 - The Elephant Rope

As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

Failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in life.

 

 

 

February 2014 - Here I Am!

Crickets are interesting animals. They're only an inch long yet they can be heard throughout the forest by rubbing their wings together.
You can tell the temperature by listening to crickets. On warm nights, they chirp faster than on cool nights. If you count the number of chirps in 15 seconds and add 40 to it you'll get the temperature.

I like to think about why crickets chirp. It's their way of saying "Here I Am". Like crickets, each one of us has ways of saying "Here I Am". Some say it through sports, some in music, some in reading, some in art. One way we all say "Here I Am" is through Scouting. When you wear your uniform you are showing everyone that you believe that it's important to be a good person. I think the best way to say "Here I Am" is by working hard, being kind, and being cheerful.

Next time you hear a cricket, try to remember he is saying "Here I Am" and think how you are saying "Here I Am" in your life.

 

 

January 2014 - SHIPWRECKED

After a shipwreck, the lone survivor washed up onto a small deserted island.

He thanked God to be alive and then prayed for rescue. In the first day he managed to build a hut from palm fronds in which he stored the few possessions he had salvaged from the wreckage. He also made a fairly soft sleeping pad and found fruit and coconuts to eat. He built a small cooking fire pit in front of his hut and continued to pray for rescue. A couple weeks into his hardship, while he was foraging for food, the wind suddenly picked up and became so strong it knocked a few trees down.

When he returned to his hut, the survivor saw that the wind had blown coals on the dry fronds of his hut and burned it to the ground. All of his meager possessions were destroyed. In anger and frustration, he cried, "God, how could you do this to me?" A few hours later, as he was sitting in despair, a ship rounded the island and a rowboat came ashore to rescue him. The man was ecstatic and asked, "How did you know I was here?" They replied, "We saw your smoke signal."

 

 

December 2013 - The Parable of the Coal-Maker

There was once a master coal-maker who would spend his days generating live coals for all who were in need of a fire. The coal maker was very careful to provide coals for constructive fires only. Fires for warming. Fires for cooking. Fires for generating light. Along his journey he noticed that some of the coals were ignored and were quickly extinguished by exposure to the elements and lack of interest. Others would land in a nest of tinder and would smolder for a while, but because of lack of sufficient oxygen would soon die out. Some of the coals would be carefully nurtured and coaxed within the nest until they produced a small flame, but because of lack of preparation would die out before the main fire could be built. Finally others were placed within a carefully selected and prepared nest, nurtured into a flame and delicately placed within the prepared tinder of the fire where they were provided with sufficient fuel and oxygen to create a fire of intense heat and light.

Our lives are very much like this parable of the coal-maker.

Throughout our journey there will be many coal-makers who will inspire us to do better by giving us a live coal. This may come in the form of a kind deed, an inspirational thought, an exciting activity, or sometimes just by the example of the coal-maker. The fate of the coal lies within each of us. If we choose to ignore it or treat it lightly, it will soon die out and will be of no real value to us, soon to become just another memory. However, if we choose to nurture this coal and provide it with the heat of persistence, the oxygen of enthusiasm, and the tinder of planning and preparation, we will find that this coal will start a fire within us that can last a lifetime, continually producing the comfort of its warmth and guidance of its light as we travel along life’s journey. As adult Scout leaders we must never stop producing live coals. As youth Scout leaders, we must never stop providing the oxygen to encourage the fire. As Scouts, we must provide the fuel to give the fire a place to grow. Just as the fire must have heat, oxygen and fuel to exist, Scouting must have trained adult leaders, responsible and enthusiastic youth leaders, and teachable scouts in order to create a program that can, and will become unquenchable.

 

 

 

November 2013 - Happy Thanksgiving

As Americans, we have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. We live in freedom, most of us have an abundance of food and clothing, and we all have adequate shelter. We are as blessed as any people in the world, but sometimes we forget that and gripe that we don't have even more. Let's remember that a lot of the world’s population goes to bed hungry in homes that few Americans would want to live in. So it's good to remind ourselves occasionally that we are lucky and thank God for our blessings. That's what Thanksgiving really is, a time to give thanks. The Pilgrims started it more than 100 years ago when they gathered to thank God for a bountiful harvest. Today Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings around a groaning table followed by watching football games. There's nothing wrong with that. But it's important that we don't forget the real meaning of Thanksgiving. So when you sit down with your family for Thanksgiving dinner, take time to count your blessings and thank God for them.

 

 

 

 

October 2013 - Solid to the Core

Every once in a while when you're working on a pioneering project, you'll find a spar that looks great but that turns out to be weak and unreliable. Maybe its' center has been eaten away by insects. Or maybe have natural splits inside that you can't see. You can test a spar for soundness by holding one end and rapping the other end sharply on a rock. If it's sound you'll hear it ring. Some people are like defective spars. They look great on the outside and they may have appealing personalities, the kind of guys and girls you think you would like to know. But when you do get to know them better, you find that they're like a defective spar, weak inside. They don't have the strength of character to resist things that you know are wrong, and chances are they will want you to do those things, too. When that happens, do the same thing you do when you have a defective spar - cast it aside and find a sounder one. In other words, choose friends who are solid to the core.

 

 

September 2013 - A Bicycle

Have you ever thought about how a bicycle works? Most of us just hop on and let it take us where we want to go without giving it a second thought. A closer look shows it takes a lot of different pieces doing their part and working together to make transportation happen. When you push the pedal with your foot, a lot happens to make the wheels turn. The pedal turns a crank that turns a gear, which pulls a chain that turns another gear, which turns a hub, which pulls the spokes, which turns the wheel, which pulls the tire that pushes against the road to make the bike go. When you want to stop, you pull a lever that pulls a cable against a housing, which causes another lever to move, which pushes a pad against the wheel. Changing gears involves levers, cables, housing, springs, and pulleys working together. If any one part fails to work when it is supposed to, the whole system fails to work .When one system fails, the bike can still be ridden, but not in top form .You are the parts, just like on the bicycle. Your patrol is like the pedaling, braking, and gear-changing systems. The senior patrol leader is like the rider. He directs a pedal or a lever—your patrol -to do its part and in turn ask you to do yours. If you choose not to do your part, your patrol suffers and the troop doesn’t work well. The troop is our vehicle to adventure, fellowship, and good times. And each of you is a very important part

 

 

August 2013 - Bad Influences

Take out a compass, hold it up in your right hand and ask what it is. Ask them what it is used for. The desired answer is that it gives you direction. Next ask how it gives direction. The desired response is that it points to the North. Looking at the compass, point in the direction that the compass tells you is North.

Hold up a hatchet in your left hand and ask the Scouts what it is. You'll get several replies. The desired answer is that it is a tool that we can use both in and out of Scouting. Ask them what it is used for. Bring the hatchet closer to the compass. The compass needle should swing to point at the hatchet. As you say, 'Wait a minute, now North's over there!', turn to the left. The compass needle will still point at the hatchet. Each time you turn, tell them that North has moved again! They will all begin yelling at you that the hatchet is causing the compass to give a false direction. Repeat this to them, 'What's that? The hatchet is making the compass give me an incorrect direction?' After they all agree, tell them the following:

Both of these items are tools that Scouting teaches you about, which you can use both in and out of your Scouting life to make certain tasks easier to accomplish. The Scout Oath and the Scout Law are the same thing. They aren't just words that you need to memorize in order to make advancement, they are valuable tools that, like the compass, will help you to have a more enjoyable and profitable life, both in and out of Scouting. Learn to use these tools well and often.

Just like you saw with the compass and the hatchet, you will find outside influences that will try to draw you away from the direction you should be headed. Just as you have learned to recognize that iron-bearing metal will draw a compass off course, learn to recognize those things that will draw you off course from the things the Scout Oath and Law teach you about goodness, honesty, cheerfully helping others, being true to your religion, and being a positive and active member of this great country.

If you learn to use these two valuable tools, the Oath and Law, that Scouting has given you, you'll be a better person for it.

 

 

July 2013 - Rules for Living

Thomas Jefferson's "Rules of Living"

  • Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
  • Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
  • Never spend your money before you have it.
  • Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap.
  • Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
  • We seldom repent having eaten too little.
  • Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
  • How much pain the evils have cost us that have never happened!
  • Take things always by the smooth handle.
  • When angry, count ten before you speak: if very angry, a hundred

 

 

 

June 2013 - BE "IN UNIFORM"

Scouts, what would you think of a policeman in full uniform except for trousers which were of bright plaid material? How about a hospital intern wearing a sport coat over is white uniform while on duty? Or what would you think of a train conductor wearing a fireman's cap or, even more absurd, an airline pilot wearing the silks of a jockey as he boarded the plane? They'd all be "out of uniform," wouldn't they? With some of the outfits mentioned, you would be sure what they really were.

Scouts, we have a uniform, too. We have a full uniform - not just a neckerchief or just a shirt, but like the people I just mentioned, we have a full uniform. When we don't wear the full uniform, we are just as "out of uniform" as the policeman with the plaid pants.

The Flag Code says that when we are "in uniform" we salute the flag with the Scout salute, but when "out of uniform" we salute by holding our right hand over our heart. How do you think a Scout should salute the flag if he's wearing blue jeans or chinos or some other non-official dress along with part of the uniform? He's not "in uniform," is he?

 

 

May 2013 - The Butterfly

One afternoon while working around his yard a man spotted a cocoon. He looked closer a noticed that something was struggling to get through a very small hole in the cocoon.

 He stood a watched for several minutes before he was certain that what he was seeing was a butterfly attempting to get through the hole in the cocoon. As he watched the insect inside the cocoon pushed and twisted but could not squeeze its way through the hole since the hole was smaller than the body of the butterfly.
 
Intending to help the butterfly emerge, the man carefully cut the hole larger so the butterfly could easily pass through the opening. After this was done, the butterfly did pass easily through. However, from the cocoon came a misshaped insect that had a body that was far too big to permit its undeveloped wings to lift it.
 
The well-intentioned man waited in hope that the butterfly would contain to transform but this never happened.
 
The butterfly needed to struggle to squeeze its body through the small opening. In so doing fluids would be move from the body cavity and into the wings to aid in their development. Without this struggle the butterfly never developed into a beautiful insect that could fly from flower to flower. In fact its life was short as it was never able to develop.
 
The attempt to remove difficulties from the emerging insect left it unable to develop and grow in its next stage of life.

  Sometimes you, like the butterfly, will find yourself struggling to make it through a difficult assignment or decision, if you work hard you can emerge a stronger and better person prepared for an even brighter future.

 

April 2013 - Everyone is the Arch's Keystone

When we learn about the mighty arch and its importance in construction, we usually focus on the keystone, that stone in the middle at the top of the arch. We all know how this stone supports all of the other stones and lets the arch support large weights.

Sometimes we think of our leaders as being that keystone; the one we all rely on. Have you ever thought, though, what would happen to the keystone if some of the other stones were removed? You could probably remove a few, but at some point the keystone would most certainly fall with the others and the whole structure collapse.

The same thing happens when all of those supporting scouts leave the leader to shoulder the burden alone. Rembember, the keystone is just one of many that makes the arch work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 2013 - Scouting is like a Golf Ball

When golfing was first invented, the ball they used was perfectly round and smooth.

However, each time the ball was used, it would get little dents in it from being hit with the iron clubs. The dents didn't look very good, and probably were thought of as damaging at first. But it didn't take long for the golfers to realize that the MORE DENTS the ball had, the FARTHER and STRAIGHTER it flew. Soon after, using the dented, experienced golf balls as a model, they began to manufacture golf balls with the dents already in them. Thus the golf balls we have today will fly much farther than any of the first golf balls they started with, because they have learned from the experienced golf balls of the past.

Scouting is a LOT like a golf ball. Each time we learn a new skill, or earn a merit badge, or even when we try to learn something and don't succeed the first time, it's like adding another dent or dimple to our golf ball. The more skills we learn, the more experience we gain, even if we fail sometimes, the more dented our golf ball becomes, and the farther and straighter we will be able to soar down the course of our lives. Maybe thats why most Eagle Scouts seem to soar farther and straighter than others. It's not the Eagle rank itself, its all the little dimples and dents working up to it that taught him how to fly.

 

 

February 2013 - Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
Into success 'cause we stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worse that you must not quit

 

 

 

January 2013 - Birds In Your Hair

If a bird landed on your head what would you do? Run? Brush it off? Maybe both?

Nobody can keep birds from flying over their head but we can keep them from making a nest in our hair. Everyone encounters discouragement. We all come up against situations that seem like we’ll never get over. We all have birds fly over our heads too. It’s not very likely you’d just let a bird build a nest in your hair (although after a few days camping some people’s hair may look like a bird’s nest). You can’t avoid having discouraging thoughts but you don’t have to let them build up to the point you become discouraged. Brush them off, give it another try, ask for help, help someone else; keep at it and you’ll soon overcome discouragement.

 

 

 

December 2012 - The Big Ego

Once there was a very large green bullfrog who lived in a modest sized pond. Even though many other animals and fish lived around this pond the bullfrog didn't have any friends. You see, the friends he once had were gone. They were tired of his constant boasting about how far he could jump, how loud he could croak, and how many flies he could eat. These days, they just tried to stay out of his way.
This situation changed when the geese began to migrate through the area. Two geese actually became his friends. They spent many a long day visiting, swimming, and doing the things friends do.

Then one day the two geese told the frog it was time for them to continue their migration. The frog was sad and asked if they could take him with them. He suggested that they let him climb on one of their backs and hang onto their neck. Both geese agreed that he was entirely too fat for one goose to carry. Further saddened, the frog began to think and finally came up with an idea.

"Listen," he said, "How about we take a string and each of you take hold of an end with your mouth and bite down hard, then I will bite in the middle of the string and you can fly me between you." The geese pondered the idea and decided to give it a try.

All were ready and the geese began to flap and run. The frog hopped along with the string in his mouth until he was lifted from the ground and was airborne. "Oh what a feeling", thought the frog. Onward they flew for days on end until they flew over a farmer out in his field.
The farmer looked up and upon seeing the geese and frog remarked, "My, my, a flying frog! I wonder who taught those geese to fly such a big frog?"
Hearing this, the frog wanting to get all the glory for such a clever idea, said, "I DID!"

That night the farmer feasted on very large succulent frog legs.
Check your ego, don't let it get so far out of control that you lose your friends or worse yet, end up on someone's plate.

 

October 2012 - A Chain

You've heard the saying "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link". That's absolutely true. With a chain, I can pull a car or lift a heavy load - I can perform many tasks. But, if I try to lift something that is too heavy, one of the links will break - the weakest link will let down the rest of the chain.

In Scouting, each scout works on personal advancement to strengthen himself and improve his skills. Personal advancement increases the strength of each link in our chain so we can accomplish more.

But, there will always be a weakest link. No matter what the task at hand, some person will be less skilled than the others. Someone will not be able to tie a certain knot, or kindle a fire, or hike as fast, or recite as well as the others. At some point, each of you will be a weakest link - I guarantee it! Being the weakest link is not a shameful thing - it is an opportunity for improvement.

One of the best things about Scouting is that our "chain" is better than a simple metal chain. When we have a task to do, we are not really limited by our weakest link. The other stronger or more skilled or more experienced links support the weaker links. They help them, teach them, and guide them. As a result, we accomplish much more than if we each just did our specific task and left the rest.

Do your best to not be the weakest link - for yourself and for your troop. Learn skills, take on challenges, grow! But, be aware that around here the weakest link one day might be the strongest the next - and the strongest may be the weakest.

 

 

September 2012 - Face Difficulties Positvely

This parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule praying or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together, told them what had happened, and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, HE WOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP!

This he did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up…shake it off and step up…shake it off and step up!” He repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or how distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought panic and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!

It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him actually helped him . . . all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

THAT’S LIFE! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity.

 

 

July 2012 - Believe in Yourself

There may be days when you get up in the morning and things aren’t the way you had hoped they would be. That’s when you have to tell yourself that things will get better. There are times when people disappoint you and let you down. But those are the times when you must remind yourself to trust your own judgments and opinions, to keep your life focused on believing in yourself. There will be challenges to face and changes to make in your life, and it is up to you to accept them. Constantly keep yourself headed in the right direction for you. It may not be easy at times, but in those times of struggle you will find a stronger sense of who you are. So when the days come that are filled with frustration and unexpected responsibilities, remember to believe in yourself and all you want your life to be. Because the challenges and changes will only help you to find the goals that you know are meant to come true for you.

Keep Believing in Yourself!

 

 

 

June 2012 - Take Care of What You've Got

Imagine that a Genie offers you any car in the world. The catch is that it is the only car you will ever own. What would you do? You would read the manual ten times, change the oil twice as often as required, and you would take fastidious care so that that car remained the car of your dreams forever. Think about what this tells you about your body. You get only one mind and one body–the same ones you will have at 15, 20, 40, 60, etc. Take care of them and maximize their potential. It will be too late to take care of your body and mind (and car) later on. You can maintain them, but it is hard or impossible to undo big mistakes or negligence later on. You do not want to end up with a wreck on your hands.

 

 

 

May 2012 - The Mayonnaise Jar

The Mayonnaise Jar A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else - the “small stuff”.

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal. Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

 

April 2012 - UnSaying My Words

There once was two Indian boys whom were very good friends. They explored, fished, and hunted together. They were both great athletes and well-liked by all in their tribe. In their village there was also a young girl that they both began to like and compete for. One of the boys, out of jealousy, told the girl that the other boy had done something very bad which would disgrace him and his family. This was completely untrue. Afterwards, the boy felt ashamed of what he had done. He told the girl that he had lied and he apologized to his friend for what he had said. But, as he walked around the village, he could here others repeating the false words he had spoken about his friend.

Very troubled by this, he went to the tribal medicine man for advice. 'How can I undo this terrible thing I have done? he asked. The wise man told him, 'Shoot 3 ducks and 3 geese. Pull off all their feathers and put them in a leather bag. Bring me the bag and the birds.' The boy did this. He gave the birds to the wise man and the wise man said, 'Now, take the bag of feathers to the top of the great mountain, open it, and shake out all the feathers. Then, return here.' The boy climbed the mountain, released all the feathers into the wind, and returned to the wise man. The wise man said, 'Now, go back up the mountain and pick up every single feather you released and put them back in your bag.' The boy replied, 'But, that is not possible. The feathers have blown far away. I can never recover all of them.' The wise man said, 'So it is with your words.'

 

 

March 2012 - The Bridge Builder

An old man traveling a long highway, Came at the evening cold and gray, To a chasm vast and deep and wide. The old man crossed in the twilight dim, The sullen stream held no fears for him; But he turned when safe on the other side, And built a bridge to span the tide. "Old man," cried a fellow pilgrim near, "You're wasting your time in building here. "Your journey will end with the closing day; "You never again will pass this way. "You have crossed the chasm deep and wide, "Why build you this bridge at even tide?" The builder lifted his old gray head; "Good friend, in the path I have come," he said. "There followeth after me today, "A youth whose feet must pass this way. "This stream which has been as naught to me, "To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be; "He, too, must cross in the twilight dim-- "Good friend, I am building this bridge for him."

 

 

February 2012 - ROAD TEST YOURSELF


Did you know that car manufacturers try out there new models on some of the worst roads in the world? They can't find any ordinary roads that are bad enough for the purpose, so they build special tracks with ruts, bumps, and potholes that are incredibly bad.
Now why do they do that, do you suppose? That's right; they want to give their cars the toughest possible test so that they can learn about the weak spots. The idea is that they will fix the weak spots before the cars go on sale.

Are you like a new car model that never was tested? Are you cheerful when the going is easy but a grumbler and griper when there is trouble? Are you like a shiny new car that falls to pieces when it gets a tough road test?

In a way, Scouting is like a road test. We challenge ourselves with backpacking trips and other adventures to see whether or not we can take it. As Scouts we like to find out what our limits are, and if we find weak spots, we try to correct them.

That way, we'll be ready for life's bumps and potholes. Then people will say of us, "Those guys can take it".

 

 

 

 

 

January 2012 - New Year's Resolutions

Well, Scouts, have you made any New Year's resolutions?

I hope some of you resolved to bring up your grades in school and be more helpful around the house. I'm sure your parents would be delighted with those resolutions. In Scouting, we make a resolution almost every time we meet. Each time we repeat the Scout Oath or Law, we're resolving to do our best to do our duty and to make ourselves the best citizens we can be. I'm inclined to think that resolving to follow the Scout Oath and Law are the most important resolutions you can make - now and in the time to come.

The Oath and Law cover almost everything that makes a good man and a good citizen.
So, I think, as we start the New Year, repeat the Oath and Law to yourself and think about what they mean.

December 2011 - Afraid and Brave

Who is more brave - the Tenderfoot that walks to the latrine on a campout at 2am or the Life Scout that rescues a drowning little 6 year old girl?
Bravery doesn't really depend on the Task being done. It depends on the internal challenge overcome to perform the task. That Tenderfoot may have been very brave to walk all alone in the pitch black to the latrine instead of chickening out and using the bushes right next to his tent. That Life Scout may have had no concerns with going into 5 feet of water.

A good definition of Bravery is: "a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger of pain without showing fear."

Being brave is not being unafraid - quite the opposite; fear and bravery go hand in hand. When you are afraid and can still do what needs to be done, now THAT is being brave.

Whether that is saving someone in danger, sticking up for a new kid at school, or telling someone about your beliefs - there are many situations where you can be brave or cowardly. You find out a lot about who you really are when you find yourself in those situations.

 

November 2011 - Confidence

Confidence

If you think you're beaten, you are,
if you think you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win, but think you can't,
it’s almost for sure, you won't.

If you think you're losing, you've lost.
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a person's will,
it’s all in your state of mind.

If you think you're outclassed, you are,
you’ve got to think high to rise.
You have to stay with it,
In order to win the prize.

Life's battles don't always go,
to the one with the better plan.
For more often than not, you will win,
If only you think you can.

 

 

 

October 2011 - Judgement

"Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2011 - BELIEVE

 

Whether you believe you can do something...
or can't do something...
You're right!

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2011 - The Two Wolves
 

An old Cherokee grandfather called all his grandchildren together one day. For many years he had been a proud warrior and a chief among his people. He had lived a full life and had gained some wisdom in his days. He wanted to impart some of this wisdom to the children of his children, and their children.

The grandfather sat with his back to the lodge with all the many children in a half circle around him. He began by telling the children, “Within me are two mighty wolves and these wolves are having a great battle, each striving in its own way to destroy the other. Some days this battle favors one wolf, another day the battle favors the other wolf.”

“One wolf is fighting for everything that is wrong and evil. He fights for envy, greed, intolerance, hate, wickedness, and unkindness.”

“The other wolf is fighting for everything that is good and godly. He fights for compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, beauty, truth, and equity.”

“It is a mighty battle; a battle that one day will end.” The old grandfather then sat still and quiet. He gazed off through the forest to a distant, unseen point.

After a long pause one of the children spoke and asked: “Grandfather, which wolf will win the battle?”

The grandfather looked kindly at the child and said “The wolf that will win is the one that I feed”.
With that grandfather slowly stood and went into the lodge for his evening meal, leaving the children to ponder his words.

 

June 2011 - Happy for a Lifetime

If you want to be happy for a day.... take a nap.
If you want to be happy for a week.... take a vacation.
If you want to be happy for a month.... take a long vacation.
If you want to be happy for a year.... win the lottery.

If you want to be happy for a lifetime.... Help Other People At All Times!



 

May 2011 - The Big Ego


 

Once there was a very large green bullfrog who lived in a modest sized pond. Even though many other animals and fish lived around this pond the bullfrog didn't have any friends. You see, the friends he once had were gone. They were tired of his constant boasting about how far he could jump, how loud he could croak, and how many flies he could eat. These days, they just tried to stay out of his way.

This situation changed when the geese began to migrate through the area. Two geese actually became his friends. They spent many a long day visiting, swimming, and doing the things friends do.

Then one day the two geese told the frog it was time for them to continue their migration. The frog was sad and asked if they could take him with them. He suggested that they let him climb on one of their backs and hang onto their neck. Both geese agreed that he was entirely too fat for one goose to carry. Further saddened, the frog began to think and finally came up with an idea.

"Listen," he said, "How about we take a string and each of you take hold of an end with your mouth and bite down hard, then I will bite in the middle of the string and you can fly me between you." The geese pondered the idea and decided to give it a try.

All were ready and the geese began to flap and run. The frog hopped along with the string in his mouth until he was lifted from the ground and was airborne. "Oh what a feeling", thought the frog. Onward they flew for days on end until they flew over a farmer out in his field.

The farmer looked up and upon seeing the geese and frog remarked, "My, my, a flying frog! I wonder who taught those geese to fly such a big frog?"

Hearing this, the frog wanting to get all the glory for such a clever idea, said, "I DID!"
That night the farmer feasted on very large succulent frog legs.

Check your ego, don't let it get so far out of control that you lose your friends or worse yet, end up on someone's plate



April 2011 - THE STARFISH

Once upon a time there was a wise man that used to go to the ocean to do his writing.


One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out,


"Good morning! What are you doing?"


The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish in the ocean." 


"I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?"


"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die." 


"But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!" The young man listened politely. Then bent down picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said,


"It made a difference for that one."


There is something very special in each and every one of us and we must each find our own starfish. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference and if we throw our stars wisely and well -- the world will be blessed!


March 2010 - The Eagle and the Chickens

 
There once was an Indian brave that was walking down the trail when he discovered an eagle’s egg had fallen out of its nest. He looked up and saw that the nest was too high for him to return the egg. So he placed the egg in a nearby prairie chickens nest. When the egg finally hatched the little eagle thought he was a prairie chicken. Prairie chickens don’t fly very far and they stay on the ground and they eat only worms and grubs. So as the eagle grew up he ate nothing but worms and grubs. One day he looked up in the sky and saw some eagles soaring high above. He asked one of the prairie chickens "How can they fly up their while we are down here eating worms and grubs?"
The prairie chicken answered "They are the eagles, they can do that but we must stay down here."
So the eagle spent the rest of his life flying very little and eating worms and grubs just because some prairie chicken told him he had to.  
The moral of the story is that if really want to do or become something in your life listen to your heart and try don't just listen to the prairie chickens.



February 2010 - Choose a Door

Imagine a man walking down a corridor.

At intervals along the floor of the corridor are keys. The man stops to pick some up keys and leaves others. 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 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 are very attractive. Some hold no interest for him. Unfortunately, a few of the very attractive doors require keys that he did not pick up, and he cannot open the doors.

The keys are opportunities. The corridor is your life. The room is a cusp (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.

Get good grades NOW!! so that doors remain open for you for scholarships, or even college.

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

Exercise NOW!! So that you will have a better opportunity to make the team next season.

Pick up the keys NOW!! So that you can open the doors when you want to or have to make a choice.

January 2010 -  The Knot That Tells A Story

Scouts, if your rank is between Second Class and Life, take a look at your badge of rank. What do all those badges have in common?

That's right, they all have the "Be Prepared" scroll with a knot dangling from it. . Does anyone remember what the knot is supposed to remind us of?

Right again. It's a reminder to do a Good Turn every day. If the knot could talk, it would tell us of billions of Good Turns stretching back almost 100 years. Are you adding a chapter to that story each day?

Our troop often does big Good Turns for our chartered organization or the community. But does that mean that you can forget about Good Turns the rest of the time? Of course not. As Scouts you have pledged to do a Good Turn daily. Obviously that doesn't mean you have to spend several hours on some major project.

But it does mean that at home, in school, and when you're with friends you will go out of your way to do a simple kindness - take out the garbage without being asked, help a buddy with his homework, or run an errand for your mother without grumbling.

Those little Good Turns make life more pleasant for other people. They also add another link in that long string of Good Turns going back to Scouting's beginnings.

November 2009 -  Thanksgiving

As Americans, we have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. We live in freedom, most of us have an abundance of food and clothing, and we all have adequate shelter. We are as blessed as any people in the world, but sometimes we forget that and gripe that we don't have even more. Let's remember that a lot of the world’s population goes to bed hungry in homes that few Americans would want to live in.

So it's good to remind ourselves occasionally that we are lucky and thank God for our blessings. That's what Thanksgiving really is, a time to give thanks. The Pilgrims started it more than 100 years ago when they gathered to thank God for a bountiful harvest.

Today Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings around a groaning table followed by watching football games. There's nothing wrong with that. But it's important that we don't forget the real meaning of Thanksgiving. So when you sit down with your family for Thanksgiving dinner, take time to count your blessings and thank God for them.

 
 

October 2009 -  Failure teaches Success

Failure is not a comfortable feeling and more often than not we have it in our lives. But if we can use it to measure what it takes to be successful then failing becomes a tool we can learn from. If we take the time to look at our failures it will teach us what we have to do to be successful. It forces us to self analyze who am I and what I did. Winning is an easy pill to take. Often swallowed rapidly, cherished and we move on. We must use failure as a teaching tool. If we don't take the time to learn from our failures then we have really failed at becoming successful and have gained nothing by failing. So failing teaches us how to be successful.

 


Past Entries

September 2009 - Boy Scouts are like teabags

Boy Scouts are like teabags. You don't know how strong they are until they get in hot water.

Our monthly Boys Life Magazines feature stories of brother Scouts being first on the scene at serious accidents or other emergency situations that put their Scout skills to the test!

Do your ever ask yourself how would you do in similar circumstances? Acts of heroism are not always a matter of being fearless - more often it's just the opposite, doing what is right in spite of being afraid. Being a Scout, by which I mean living by the Scout Oath and Law, the Slogan and the Motto, more often means doing things that are not "cool" or easy in less news-worthy - but no less heroic - ways, than in Boys Life stories: facing down peer pressure, seeking-out ways to help people, being courteous even to the non-courteous, etc.

So raise your right hand in the Scout sign and pledge, on your honor, to try your best to make a good cup of tea!

 

 August 2009 - Setting the Example

In the patrol leaders council, we often talk about the skills of leadership. Patrol leaders who have taken the junior leader training course know even more about them. Of the 11 skills of leadership, I believe the most important is setting the example. There's an old saying that sums it up well. It goes something like this: "What you do speaks so loudly that I can't hear what you say. " In other words, don't tell me what is right; show me by your example.

It seems to me that when it comes to setting the example, we are all leaders. Even if you're not a patrol leader, the way you conduct yourself will rub off on your patrol mates. If one patrol member goofs off and is sloppy in his habits, there's a temptation to say, "Well, Brian gets away with it, why shouldn't I?"

That may be human nature, but it's not the nature of a good patrol or a good troop. A good patrol and troop have to work like a team, with every member setting a good example of Scout like behavior. Let's keep that in mind always, but especially when we're at troop meetings (or on a campout). Let's show our pride in our troop and in ourselves as Scouts and young men.

 

July 2009 - Be In Uniform

Scouts, what would you think of a policeman in full uniform except for trousers which were of bright plaid material? How about a hospital intern wearing a sport coat over is white uniform while on duty? Or what would you think of a train conductor wearing a fireman's cap or, even more absurd, an airline pilot wearing the silks of a jockey as he boarded the plane?

They'd all be "out of uniform," wouldn't they? With some of the outfits mentioned, you would be sure what they really were.

Scouts, we have a uniform, too. We have a full uniform - not just a neckerchief or just a shirt, but like the people I just mentioned, we have a full uniform. When we don't wear the full uniform, we are just as "out of uniform" as the policeman with the plaid pants. The Flag Code says that when we are "in uniform" we salute the flag with the Scout salute, but when "out of uniform" we salute by holding our right hand over our heart. How do you think a Scout should salute the flag if he's wearing blue jeans or chinos or some other non-official dress along with part of the uniform?

He's not "in uniform," is he?

 

May 2009 - That First Step

The Chinese have a saying,

"The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step ".

There's a lesson for us in that saying.

I'm thinking of advancement. If you come to troop meetings without ever looking in your Official Boy Scout Handbook all week long and if you never ask how to pass a test or who to see about a merit badge, you'll never advance very far in Scouting. In Scouting, and in life, the rewards don't come to those who sit back and wait for something to be handed to them on a silver platter.

I would like to see every one of you set the Eagle Scout badge as you goal in Scouting. As a step toward that goal, I hope that most of you will receive some award at our next court of honor.

Whatever the goal you set for yourself, remember that only you can take that first step toward it. No one can do it for you. Once you've taken that first step the next step becomes easier. And the ones after that will be easier still because you're on the way along the Scouting trail.

 

April 2009 - Caring for Tools

Tools are essential in making repairs around the house and in doing the kind of community Good Turn we're planning this month. You couldn't do the job without them.

But they must be in good condition. If your hammer head is loose, the hammer becomes a dangerous weapon. If your saw blade is dull, it makes the work harder and you also run the risk of cutting yourself if the blade jumps out of the groove. And if your screwdriver's blade is all beat up, you're going to ruin a lot of screws.

Your character is like a set of tools. Think of your character as a set of attributes we talk about in the Scout Law - trustworthy, loyal, and helpful and so on. If you're not trustworthy, that part of your character is like a hammer with a loose head, you could be dangerous to others because no-one could depend on you to do what had to be done in an emergency. If you're not loyal, you're like a dull saw blade - not reliable when the chips are down.

A good craftsman keeps his tools in excellent shape because they are his livelihood. A good Scout keeps his character in excellent shape because he knows that the attributes that make up his character are his most precious possession.

 

March 2009 - On The Trail

Once a long time ago a hound was out with his owner trailing a mountain lion. The hound came to a place where a fox had crossed the trail, and the hound decided to follow the fox instead of the lion. A short time later, a rabbit crossed that of the fox, and again the hound changed direction. Why should he chase a fox when a rabbit might be easier to catch? When the hunter finally caught up with his hound, the dog was barking at a small hole in the ground. The hound had brought to bay a field mouse instead of a mountain lion.

Well, how about you? Have you set out on a trail to achieve your ambition? Are you able to follow it, or are you sidetracked by easier trails that cross it from time to time? Don't be like that hound. Find out what it takes to achieve your ambition, and then get started. The best way to achieve anything in life is to set a true course for it and then stick to that trail.

 

 

 

February 2009 - How To Catch A Monkey

Anybody know how to catch a monkey? Well, I can tell you how they do it in India. They take a gourd, cut a small hole in it, and then put some rice inside. Then they tie the gourds down securely and wait for the monkey. Monkeys are greedy and selfish. I guess you could say anybody who is greedy and selfish is a monkey. Anyway, monkeys are so greedy and selfish that they fall for the gourd trick every time.

The monkey sticks his paw into the gourd to get the rice. He grabs a handful - but then he can't get his hand out of the gourd. His fist won’t go through the small hole. And he's so greedy and selfish that he won't let go of the handful of rice. He just waits there with his greedy fist wrapped around the rice until the men come and take him.

Do you know the moral to this story?

Don't be greedy and selfish or you may make a "monkey" of yourself.

 

January 2009 - Happy New Year!

Well, Scouts, did you make any New Year's resolutions?

I hope some of you resolved to bring up your grades in school and be more helpful around the house. I'm sure your parents would be delighted with those resolutions.

In Scouting, we make a resolution almost every time we meet. Each time we repeat the Scout Oath or Law, we're resolving to do our best to do our duty and to make ourselves the best citizens we can be. I'm inclined to think that resolving to follow the Scout Oath and Law are the most important resolutions you can make - now and in the time to come. The Oath and Law cover almost everything that makes a good man and a good citizen. So as we start the New Year, you ought to repeat to yourself the Oath and Law and think about what you are saying.

 

 

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