“So, who’s going to go first?”, I said. “Come on Darnel, you’re the football player, show us!”, they all chimed in. BSA Tenderfoot rank requirements ask you to prove not that you are physically fit, but that you are willing to improve your physical fitness. Sit-ups, Pushups, Pull-ups, Broad Jump, Quarter Mile Walk/Run. We’d do’em all. We’ll do’em again in 30 days and show that (with practice) we’ve improved. So Darnel banged out 40 good solid military pushups. Ok the last 10 might have been a little less solid, but when I was his age, I don’t remember making 40 on my first try. And yes, I was a defensive tight end.
Not everyone is a football player though, so some of the boys were toughing it out for 1 or 2 pushups. That’s OK, they were there to improve. Now, with your random bunch of boys, you expect some serious taunting. “Two, You are soooooo lame!” No, I did not hear one taunt. It was more like, “Come on man, try it again. I know you can do more.” And the spirit in the place was so encouraging that even when they had taken their best shot they wanted another go. Here I was prepared to make men out of them, jumping on their barbed edges to hammer them flat. They were already looking back at me from the next level. “Come on, Mr. Neal, we’re heading up.”
So, today I was sitting wondering why these boys needed me at all. They already have the spirit of scouting! They are Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, and Kind. They are founded on their love of God. I’ve got nothing to do. Why did God give me guys that would make anybody proud. I thought I was here to raise up a lost generation. My answer was simple. Ever try to build a human pyramid? Your strongest people must be at the bottom. They are the ones that will hold the others up. If a man falls at the top, he falls and perhaps takes another with him. If a man at the foundation falls the whole pyramid is doomed.
You know in the big picture, the scout master won’t actually build character in the boys. The boys inspire each other. What the scout master really does is open a window so that the boys can help each other through. He limits the options that they are going to be presenting to each other. Those limits are his window.
God was telling me that he didn’t have time for me to develop a solid core. “Here you go, I want your troop founded on the rock.” Now why would that be? I guess I’ll be watching for some new boys to be walking past my window