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Who is Gonna Tell the Child?

Last night, for the first time, our family had the privilege of attending an Eagle Scout ceremony. 

Our oldest boys were asked to be a part of the ceremony.  They were put in charge of the ceremonial fire.  Fire.  In a public building full of people and expensive things. FIRE. :)

As a recovering helicopter parent I appreciate situations like this one because I almost always learn something from them.

I've read a lot of parenting books. But in recent years I think that God has really redefined my view of my job as a parent. I see my job as more of a guide. I give them a job, some instructions if/when necessary and then I step back to let them figure it out. It's my job to get them ready to fly off into the sunset without me.

Events like this one often teach me about an area where I haven't given them growing room. So I go away better prepared and more enlightened about what my kids are capable of.

Anyway, one of my favorite parts of the ceremony happened when the young man who had obtained Eagle Scout rank was given an opportunity to honor his mentors with a pin.  He gave out three. One to his second grade Sunday school teachers, one to an encouraging woman from his church and one to his grandfather. Even though I barely know this boy (I couldn't have even pointed him out in the Troop before this ceremony) I became emotional during this portion of the ceremony.

It just made me realize how important people are in my kids lives.  Sometimes I forget that. I love the ways that my boys Scout leaders have impacted their lives.  I'm sure there are others who would qualify as mentors for my kids but this is an area where I want to be more diligent in prayer. I need to pray for people who will take an interest in them and guide them in their walk with the Lord.  Not necessarily people who constantly correct them, but who lead by example.  People who inspire them to love Jesus and let His light shine in their lives.  And who will teach them things that they need and want to know.

During another part of the ceremony the Eagle Scout was asked to take a challenge. I can't remember the details but he was basically "challenged" to live well.  And at the end of his little speech he asked the audience to take a challenge too.  He asked that everyone there correct him when he's wrong, help him when he needs help and...I can't remember the last thing...but he asked everyone who would accept that challenge to respond with an "I do". Everyone did. I just thought about how amazing it would be if we all did this for one another. If we all worked on ourselves (actually, let God work on us) to the point that we could turn our focus from our own sin to helping the next generation deal with theirs. If we took the time to teach them what they need to know...even if they aren't our nephew or niece or grand child or any blood relation at all.

I came away from this ceremony with so many good things. It fed my soul. It's probably a little silly, but I was uplifted as a person and inspired as a mom.

We all need mentors.  My kids need mentors besides me and their dad. And I pray that God will send people to fill those roles, and I am super thankful for the ones he's already sent!


  1. Hannah, I've been in Scouting for 58 years and have never forgotten the fine leaders who were there when I needed them. Through their example I learned that it is the responsibly of every Scout or Scouter to take care of each other and give back to the program. I take pride when I attend a Court of Honor and witness a young Scout earn his Tenderfoot or the Live Scout who has earned his Eagle. These young men will do good in their lifetime. They had leaders who cared for them and did a job that few would undertake. Good luck to you and the Scouts in your family.

  2. Hannah, you get "it"; I can say with confidence you're a helicopter parent no longer. This program, and more importantly the youth in this program, need mentors like you.I challenge you to take the next step, fill that role for other youth. Although we don't do this for ourselves, you'll find the rewards are beyond measure.

  3. I'm not just a Scout Mom to my son, I'm a Scoutmaster's wife (nearly 22 years and continuing), and have been active in the Summer and Winter Camp programs in our Council as the Merit Badge Registrar. About year 5, one of the women of a troop who regularly attended our camp programs, told me over the phone that that year would be her last year, as her son and his friends were all now Eagles and graduating. It hit me HARD. I was a mentor. Behind the scenes, very quietly organizing opportunities for boys to grow into young men. Growing up in a Scouting family, I had been to many Eagle Ceremonies, including my brothers (and 2 years ago, my son's), but I hadn't realized until that moment, in that phone conversation, just how many boys I had already helped to reach the rank of Eagle, and how many more I would help over the next 7 years that I handled that job. Hundreds? Yes. Many whose names I will never remember and whose faces I have forgotten, but I helped. I also taught, and still sometimes teach, the Communications Merit Badge, again, mentoring and helping along the way. You are correct when you say that the Eagle Ceremony is special and emotional and worth every bit of struggle along the way to get a Scout to that point. I hope you continue to pray for your son and for all Scouts and encourage your son to keep after it, go the distance, and get his Eagle. THAT ceremony will mean even more. God bless you!

  4. well said. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great post Hannah. My son just achieved his Eagle in January and we had his ceremony in April. I do know that we help raise each others' boys in our troop, either just as someone who is there to listen, or like myself as a chaplain and mb counselor. Geoff's mentors were another Scout who got eagle 2 years ago and his project coach, who has walked with him through his journey in BSA since 2008 when he joined. I remember Mr. S looking at me and shaking his head saying "this ones gonna be fun."

    Scouting also will help you as a parent ease up on that 'helicopter" feeling. I got a head start on that when my son played football in 5th grade and the coach politely asked me to go sit down and that Geoff would figure out how to adjust his pads when the other guys showed him how to do it.

    Led by parents and adult leaders, led by other boys, joining the patrol method... all of these things made my son a much better man and citizen for sure.

    If this was your first Eagle ceremony, I hope there will be many others, and that your sons will inspire others when they (hopefully) get to make this journey complete. And if they don't that's okay too. Everyone chooses a different path. My son thanked the other boys who bridged into the troop with him, all but one had dropped out over the years. but they were on that journey with him. and he let them know that mattered to him...

    i should send you his speech. I bet you'd like it... visit my blog at and you can read through the years on Geoff's journey through scouting.

    good luck...

  6. It is great to read about parents recognizing the values of Scouting program. Eagle Scouts in Boy Scouts, Summit award in Venturing, and Quartermaster in Sea Scouts are top BSA awards. They are useful to demonstrate that a youth leader was able to complete many requirements in Scouting. These lessons and challenges are going to be useful for the rest of their lives. Keep sharing cool stories about Scouts.


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