We have established a policy in our family, shared by many of our friends with sons, that our boys must earn their Eagle Scout rank before they can get their driver’s licenses. This is no small task; it requires many years of meetings, campouts, and activities, a meticulously planned Eagle service project, and earning no fewer than 21 merit badges. Cruel? Perhaps. Practical? Absolutely. When they plead, “Why is this ever going to matter?” we respond that colleges and potential employers will take note of their accomplishment. Certainly this is true, but the real reason is that they just might learn something along the way—useful facts about amphibians, classic tales of Indian lore, handy basketweaving techniques, and most importantly, how to set a long-term goal and complete it.
Of course enforcing this requirement means a LOT of work on my part. I am the Eagle project manager. I establish schedules, track blue cards, poke, prod, and encourage. This summer I enlisted Grandma and Grandpa to help the boys along the trail to Eagle. Lorelie teaches multimedia, commercial art, and video production at a Utah high school, and Lou is a retired coach and athletic director. Lou is supervising their progress for the Personal Fitness merit badge, which requires 12 weeks of concentrated workouts, and Lorelie is spearheading the cinematography and photography merit badges. Though the boys’ moaned about having to work during summer vacation, they complied with Grandma’s request to complete a photostudy. McKane chose flowers, Dax chose Asher. The results were impressive.
The moral of the story is sometimes kids have to be forced to do things they otherwise would not do. In the process they just might discover hidden talents or abilities and create something beautiful.
So do you think there’s a round the world merit badge?