This week’s blog message signifies the achievement of one complete year of Mac’s Messages on the LDS-BSA Relationships website. I’m sure there may be some people who have read my blog messages who feel I have a very idealistic view of LDS Scouting. Perhaps I’m somewhat Pollyannish in my expectations of adult Young Men leaders and the boys. A dream I had the other night may validate this view.
In my dream I walked into a Scouting unit campsite at what was obviously a council summer camp. The campsite was perfectly laid out with matching tents aligned in precise rows. The national, state, and Scouting unit flags were fluttering in the wind. Patrol flags were dispersed among the tents. Under a huge canopy a group of boys sat quietly around a long table working on a project. The boys were dressed in pristine, white Scouting field T-shirts. Off to the side sat four adult leaders in chairs observing the boys without comment. Youth leaders were instructing the boys. In my dream I marveled at how perfect the setting was and thought, “This is what Scouting is all about!”
Just as I thought this the image changed. I saw the same scene, but this time the campsite was not so orderly. There were different kinds of tents laid out in no discernible order. There were no flags. The boys were not dressed in white. They were dressed in a variety of outfits; some in full uniform, some wearing only a Scout shirt, some in field T-shirts, and some in street clothes. The boys were working on a project, but it definitely was not quiet. It was chaotic. Boys were yelling. Some boys were running around. Others were not involved at all. The adult leaders were trying to control the boys, shouting at them to be quiet and sit down. As I looked at this changed scene, I smiled and thought, “Ah! This is what Scouting is all about!” And I marveled at how perfect it was.
Perhaps in these blog messages it does seem I’m completely unrealistic in my hope that Young Men leaders run quality Scouting programs in their wards. Maybe my expectations are too high. But the Lord, Himself, said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Does this mean He actually expects you to be perfect, even in your Scouting program? Christ also asked, “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27). Does this mean He expects you to walk on water as you work with the young men in your ward? Of course not.
What is does mean is you ought to strive to make your Scouting program as perfect as it can be. You should do the best you can to run your Scouting program the way the Lord wishes it to be conducted. You should strive to be perfect in at least one aspect of your Scouting program. At a minimum you can pick one of the eight Methods of Scouting and do all you can to be perfect in that one element. Then, once that area of your Scouting program is running perfectly, you can pick another element and work to become perfect at that. By striving to become perfect, your Scouting program will begin to approach the perfection I espouse in my blog messages.
In reality, I don’t expect any Young Men leader—including myself—to be perfect. What I do hope to achieve through my weekly messages is to decrease the acceptance of mediocrity, the status quo, or the laissez-faire attitudes of any Aaronic Priesthood or Scouting leaders that cause them to continue the poor traditions of the past that I’ve seen in some Scouting units in the Church. What I hope by writing fifty-two weeks of blog messages is that, in some small way, I might have helped at least one Scouting leader in the Church to raise his ward’s Scouting program to a level that is closer to the perfection that our Father in Heaven desires for His precious young men.
Take a Moment to Reflect
- Do you have a vision of how perfect your Scouting program can be?
- Are you striving to achieve perfection in at least one element of your Scouting program?
- Have you identified areas of your Scouting program where you can improve, and are you striving to be better?
- Have you actually taken the time after reading Mac’s Messages to reflect upon how you can become a better Scouting leader?
- What will you do in the upcoming year to raise your Scouting program to a higher level?
Turn Your Reflection Into Action
- What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?
“And it came to pass, on the fifty and second week, he did rest from his labors on the LDS-BSA Relationships blog; yet for a small moment lest his enthusiasm for Scouting doth waver; For he pauseth only briefly to express gratitude to those who doth assist in proofing, editing, and posting his blog messages; Then he taketh up his keyboard once again to continueth his labors in the Lord’s Scouting vineyard” (Mac 1:1-3).
-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.