Some months ago, I was asked to speak at a Scouting venue. In preparation, I wrote to my missionary son and asked what stood out to him in Scouting and what made the biggest difference for him during his teenage years.
His response made me ponder the critical role of leaders in the lives of boys.
He wrote, “What influenced me most were trusted leaders. Dad is the biggest reason I love Scouting— because it meant I had time to do awesome activities with him. When I think of Scouting, I think of my dad. He was my bishop and my leader.”
Scout leaders motivate boys to be proactive and to push for greater things, not becoming complacent with where they are but pushing themselves to greater heights.
He continued, “I vividly remember my favorite campout. My dad and I were to hike to a lake where we would meet up with the rest of the troop. We hit the trail and after several miles arrived at dusk at the appointed lake. However, upon arrival we found ourselves alone. We tried calling to the others, but no one answered. Finally, with darkness falling around us, we set up camp. I remember the fire dad built. He carefully explained that in the morning we had to leave the campsite better than we found it.
I remember waking up the next morning very early to find dad’s sleeping bag empty. I unzipped the tent and found him fly- fishing on the shore of the mist-shrouded lake. He caught and cooked our breakfast. I loved to hear him talk as I peppered him with questions of life.
Later in the day we found the troop’s campsite at a nearby lake. The rest of the time was fun, but that first day was the greatest.”
President Spencer W. Kimball gives voice to why my son’s first day at camp was the greatest: “Boys need heroes close by. They need to know some man of towering strength and basic integrity, personally. They need to meet them on the street, to hike and camp with them, to see them in close-to-home, every day, down-to-earth situations; to feel close enough to them to ask questions and to talk things over man-to-man with them.” (“Boys Need Heroes Close By,” April 1976, general conference)
President Thomas S. Monson shared, “The greatest gift a man can give a boy is his willingness to share a part of his life with him.” (“Run, Boy, Run,” Oct, 1982, general conference)
Scouting offers a wide spectrum of experiences that inspired leaders can draw on to be with boys. Dedicated leaders can increase their vision, touch their hearts, mentor their ambitions, and expand their understanding of our Lord and Savior with living examples from their own lives.
President Monson shares the twelve points of the Scout Law and their counterpart in the message of our Master, Jesus Christ.
- A Scout is trustworthy. What did the Lord say? “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” (John 17:4)
- A Scout is loyal. “Get thee behind me, Satan.” (Luke 4:8)
- A Scout is helpful. “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” (John 5:8)
- A Scout is friendly. “Ye are my friends.” (John 15:14)
- A Scout is courteous. “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” (Matt. 7:12)
- A Scout is kind. “Suffer the little children to come unto me. … And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:14, 16)
- A Scout is obedient. “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38)
- A Scout is cheerful. “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
- A Scout is thrifty. “Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)
- A Scout is brave. “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39)
- A Scout is clean. “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” (D&C 38:42)
- A Scout is reverent. “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matt. 6:9)
“Such inspired teachings, when taught by devoted leaders to precious boys of promise, influence not only the lives of the boys;they also affect eternity.” (“Run, Boy, Run,” Oct, 1982, general conference)
“Nobody knows what a boy is worth; We’ll have to wait and see.
But every man in a noble place, A boy once used to be”.
Inspired leaders know the worth of their boys, and build them to stand in noble places. Thank you for being those leaders.
~Contributed by Bonnie H. Cordon, 2nd Counselor, Primary General Presidency