Missed Opportunities


            I'd like to talk with you today about missed opportunities.  We have our aims and goals in all that we do and yet, we often miss opportunities to achieve those aims.  The aim of Scouting is to build the character of our young people.  The method of doing this advocated by our founder, Lord Baden-Powell, was to have this development of character come from within the boy rather than from without.  We do this by putting the boys into situations where we can observe them and interact with them as they challenge the world.  This is the reason that we take our boys to summer camp.  As we observe our boys in action we see them do things that we are very proud of.  These are the moments that we must treasure and for which we must offer praise.

            But what about the other opportunities; the times when they do things that we are not so proud of.  Sometimes we miss these opportunities.  When our boys do something that we'd rather they didn't do, we let our natural disappointment get in the way of this opportunity to help our Scouts grow.  We fail to react.  We make excuses. We fail to set limits.  We fail to counsel.  We let an opportunity to help a boy grow, to set a boy back on the road to adulthood slip away.  The saying, "Boys will be boys," can either be an excuse to ignore misdeeds and do nothing or it can be the opportunity to forge another link in the chain of character built on the principles of the Scout Oath and Law.

            When boys do the things that boys will do, use that time to gently put them back on the right path.  After all, this is why we took them into the woods in the first place.  To have fun was their reason.  Our reason is to build character.