This week’s message may seem like a small, insignificant matter, but it is so vital it deserves individual attention.
Two weeks ago I stressed the importance of “being prepared” by calendaring activities in advance so boys know what to expect when they attend Scouting and priesthood functions. Once these activities have been determined, the calendar should be set in stone. You should never cancel a planned activity, service project, campout, or outdoor experience—except in very rare circumstances. My own son eventually became disinterested in Scouting and Church activity because his excited anticipation of an activity too frequently turned into disappointment when the event was canceled by his adult leaders.
Except in rare situations for safety reasons, never cancel an activity because of bad weather. Remember, a Scout is Brave. This includes braving the elements, toughing it out, facing one’s fears, and doing hard things. There are few better character-building experiences than a cold, wet, snowy campout or a strenuous bike ride in the wind or rain. Such conditions certainly test the mettle of a young man and show whether he can be Friendly, Courteous, Kind, and Cheerful even in difficult situations.
A Scout is also Trustworthy. This means doing what one says he will do—even when it is hard, inconvenient, or uncomfortable. As a leader over the youth you need to model the values you’re trying to teach. Future missionaries need to be taught to get out of their apartments and do the Lord’s work even when the weather is bad. Potential Melchizedek Priesthood holders need to learn how to respond without delay to promptings of the Spirit. Young men need multiple experiences requiring them to do what is right, even when they don’t feel like it. Faithfulness means doing a thing even when one may not want to.
I cannot stress enough the great lessons you teach when you never cancel a scheduled event, even if only one boy is willing to go. To serve faithfully in the priesthood one must learn perseverance. The Lord requires more than “fair weather” obedience. He wants priesthood leaders who are committed to His gospel and to serving in His kingdom regardless of the conditions or circumstances in which they are placed. He wants young men who are Loyal—who “stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9), even if the weather is cold, wet, windy, and miserable.
Take a Moment to Reflect
- Do you ever reject or cancel a Young Men activity just because you don’t want to do it?
- Do you teach your boys how to work and play hard, even in tough circumstances?
- Do you always hold activities, even if only one boy shows up? Do you recognize these situations as opportunities to reach the “one” or to seek after the “lost sheep” who are missing?
- Do you show up, on time, for every Young Men priesthood and Scouting activity, even though you may not want to or you are too busy?
- Do you model the priesthood and Scouting values you’re trying to teach to the boys?
Turn Your Reflection Into Action
- What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?
“Youth is the seed-time of full age, the molding season in the little space of a human life, the turning point in the history of a man’s mind” (J. C. Ryle, Thoughts for Young Men).
-Mac McIntire is a dedicated Scouter who has blessed many lives through his service and acute understanding of the Scouting program. He currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.