Ode to an Eagle Scout

I have been thinking alot lately about Eagle Scouts.  Why?  Well we have a LIFE scout (the rank just before Eagle) here at our house that is CRAWLING ACROSS THE FINISH LINE ON HIS HANDS AND KNEES as he slooooowllly finishes up those last few merit badges he needs and begins the arduous process of his eagle project. 

He is basically doing it for me. In fact, it was his Christmas present to me.  And his Eagle scout dad.  The afore mentioned life scout doesn't really care if he achieves that rank or not.  He would love the nagging to stop, however.
We were watching APOLLO 13 over the Christmas break as a family.  There is a scene in that movie where Neil Armstrong asks Jim Lovell's (the Tom Hanks character) mother if Jim ever earned his Eagle Scout.  She proudly responds that he did. 
That got me thinking.  So I did a little research on the ole' world wide web.  Did you know that of the 312 pilots and scientists selected as astronauts since 1959, 207 of them have been identified as being active in scouting?  Of the 24 men to travel to the moon on the Apollo 9 through 17 missions, 21 were scouts.  I think that is cool.  I think most Americans would say that Astronauts tend to be at the top of their game when it comes to physical ability and intelligence.  That says alot that they started out as goal oriented individuals at a very young age.
Did you know that lots of other highly successful and influential men have earned the rank of Eagle?
Hank Aaron, President Gerald Ford, H. Ross Perot, Sam Walton, Donald Rumsfeld, and Steven Spielberg. 

The list includes so many CEO's, politicians, Governors, Admirals, Colonels, olympians, and world class athletes that I couldnt count them all.  2 Pulitzer Prize winners, 1 Nobel Peace Prize winner, an FBI director, a CIA director, a Supreme Court Justice, 6  medal of honor recipients, and the surgeon who transplanted the first artificial heart.  Just to name a few.
That is a pretty impressive list.
 Let me tell you about the most impressive eagle scouts, I have ever heard of.  Many of you will remember the tragic circumstances that occurred on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School.  Teacher Dave Sanders was shot three times as he tried to help students get to safety.  Another teacher - not knowing what to do - went to get help at science room 3 located next door.  He entered the room (the sound of gunfire still going on in a nearby hallway)  "Does anyone here know first aid?"  Two 16 year old boys, Aaron Hancey and Kevin Stalkey, both recent eagle scouts, raised their hands.  They risked their lives leaving the safety of the classroom where they were huddled, entered the hallway and ran to the aid of Mr. Sanders.   They ran through a rapid inspection of Mr. Sander's condition:  breathing steady, skin warm, shoulder broken, gaping wounds, heavy blood loss.  Taking the t shirts off their backs (literally) as well as shirts from two other boys, they were able to control blood flow,  make bandage strips and an improvised tourniquette, and bundle the rest into a small pillow under Mr. Sander' head.  They then took the teacher's wallet out of his back pocket and showed him pictures of his children to keep him engaged and conscious until help could arrive.
THAT is pretty impressive for anyone to do.  Much less 2 16 year old boys.
In 3 Nephi 27:27  the Savior poses a question for each of us, "What manner of men ought ye to be?"
How about
As I told my son the other day, I don't want to see him earn the rank of Eagle so that I can brag about it in our family Christmas letter or put a bumper sticker on the back of my car.  I want him to earn his eagle because it is good to do HARD things and becoming an eagle is not for sissies.  And because it helps mold him into the man I want him to leave my home, having become.
In closing, 94% of all LDS Eagle Scouts started, began as cub scouts.  Those who obtain their eagle, were most likely to fulfill righteous missions...that increased their chance of a temple marriage...then go on to serve in callings in the church...which helps them stay active throughout their lives. 
Here's to all the eagle scouts out there.  Way to go!


Amanda said…
I really needed to hear this.
Thx Shahna!

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