One of the great regrets of my life is that I never became an Eagle Scout. I only made it to the level of Second Class Scout. I dropped out of Scouting when my troop had a change in adult leadership. Almost immediately our troop went from a quality Scouting experience to a program that was all but nonexistent. What had been a fun learning experience with a great adult leader whom I admired, dissolved into unplanned, unprepared evenings of confusion that invariably turned into an hour of unsupervised basketball. As a result, I went from being partially active in the Church through Scouting to being completely inactive.
As a Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood leader you may never know the lasting impact you can have on a young man’s life by your actions—or inactions. Your testimony of the gospel, the priesthood, and Scouting can influence a boy not just during his years in the Young Men program, but as he serves his mission, attends college, obtains gainful employment, gets married, has a family, and ministers as a Melchizedek Priesthood leader. I am genuinely envious of men who, even in their senior years, can still recall lessons they learned in their youth from a Scouting or Aaronic Priesthood leader. Yours can be a lasting legacy that touches the hearts of many people, not only today, but far into the future.
I love to watch movies. I have shelves full of hundreds of wonderfully inspiring DVDs. The movies I like most are those that show the power one man has to change the life of young men—movies like McFarland, USA; The Rookie; Forever Strong; Hoosiers; Stand and Deliver; and, yes, even Follow Me Boys. I like these movies because they are true stories about one man who cared enough to make a difference. I’m sure Follow Me Boys is a true story that has played out in many small towns across America. One man with a personal conviction can alter the trajectory of a boy’s life. One man with love in his heart for God’s youth can firmly establish a boy on an eternal path that will affect his destiny. One man willing to serve faithfully as a Scouting or Aaronic Priesthood leader can make a meaningful difference that can significantly impact generations to come.
In the movie Robin Hood with Russell Crowe, Crowe’s character is reluctant at first to get involved in the local problems on Lord Locksley’s estate. When conditions force Robin Hood to take sides, Lord Locksley says to Crowe’s character, “Cometh the hour; cometh the man.” As a Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood leader your hour has come. You have been called to make a difference in the lives of young men.
But to make a difference, you may have to think and act differently. You may need to change your attitude about Scouting. You may need to change your perspective of the boys whom you have been called to serve. You may need to change your behavior by becoming a model of priesthood leadership to the youth of Zion. You may have to do things you have been reluctant to do—yet which the Lord knows you are fully capable of doing. You may need to go where the Lord wants you to go and do what the Lord wants you to do. You may need to yield your will to His will.
As always, I encourage you to gain a testimony of Scouting. I encourage you to obtain a full understanding of why Scouting is an activity arm of the Aaronic Priesthood. I urge you to meld your Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting programs into the divinely designed process the Lord has established to build strong young men of character. I invite you to:
“Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things,
Give heart and soul and mind and strength
To serve the King of Kings.
“Rise up, O men of God,
In one united throng.
Bring in the day of brotherhood
And end the night of wrong.
“Rise up, O men of God,
The Church for you doth wait.
Her strength unequal to her task,
Rise up and make her great!
“Rise up, O men of God,
Tread where his feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up, O men of God!”
(Hymns of the Church, no. 324, third verse added for Priesthood Leadership Conference at Philmont Training Center)
Take a Moment to Reflect
- Have you considered the tremendous power you have to influence a young man’s life for good?
- Have you resolved to be a righteous role model to the boys whom you serve?
- Are you taking full advantage of your “hour” with the young men?
- Are there things you may need to do differently regarding your attitudes, words, or behaviors?
- Is your testimony of Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood so strong you are willing to give your heart, soul, mind, and strength to serve the King of kings?
Turn Your Reflection Into Action
- What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?
“But thou, O man of God, flee these things and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:11-12)
-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.