Tonight we have recognized and honored Matthew Axxx, Eagle Scout. A Scoutmaster learns something new at every Court of Honor, especially an Eagle Court of Honor. So what have I learned tonight?
I learned that being a leader is not enough to attain the rank of Eagle. Donít get me wrong. Learning to be a leader is very important, and is vital for a Scout to become an Eagle. But itís just not enough. A Scout must be a successful follower also. Surprised?
Eagle Scouts donít just appear from the sky. A Scout must want to attain the rank, usually from an early age. Iíve observed that many Eagle candidates said they first gave serious thought to becoming an Eagle at the first Eagle Court of Honor they attended, often as a new Scout or Tenderfoot. From that point forward, they had a dream to become an Eagle. The successful ones followed that dream, and moved on along the Eagle Trail.
Throughout his Scouting career, a Scout is often tested, and in those situations, he has to follow his heart, to keep up his spirit, his stamina, his mental toughness. I know that Matt faced many, many challenges along his Eagle Trail. But he didnít lose his spirit. He followed his heart, and he moved on along the Trail.
Often as a younger Scout (and as an older one, too), a boy has to decide which path to take. Sometimes the decision is clear, there is a right way and a wrong way. Sometimes the decision only becomes clear after you look back. And sometimes the choice is never clear, and even months or years later youíre not sure that you made the correct decision, that you took the right path. In many situations, the Eagle candidate must follow his gut. Call it intuition, experience, or even a guess. The Eagle knows he has to make a decision, a choice. And using all of his resources, including his gut level sense of right and wrong, he follows that sense, and moves on along the Trail.
And of course, the Eagle Candidate follows the advice of his parents, his Scoutmasters, his Eagle Advisor, other family members, teachers, friends, strangers, or astrologers. Some of the advice is good; some of the advice is better. The successful Eagle Scout learns which advice to discard and which to follow, and he moves on along the Trail.
What I learned tonight, or maybe what I relearned tonight is that Eagle Scouts are as good at following as they are at leading, and maybe, just maybe, that made the difference. Maybe that is one of the reasons Matthew is standing before us this evening, an Eagle Scout.
Jay F. Lubin
Scoutmaster, Troop 76 BSA