What are you getting?

joshTribOn the eve of my youngest son departing for college it is once again a time to think back on the past 18 years watching him grow into this great young man.  I can’t help but think about getting the most out of life when I think about Josh’s childhood and so it reminds me of the life lessons I have shared with him and lessons that I have shared with our Scouts.
I have always said that you get out of something what you put into it.  You get out of Scouts what you put into it, you get out of life what you put into it.
Josh is heading to college not just to get an education, but to live a dream.  Ever since he was old enough to hold a Football he has held on to the dream of playing at the next level.  Which ever level that is.  When he was in youth league it was Middle School Football.  Then it was High School Football and making the Varsity team.  Then it was College.
He has put in more effort to reach his goals than most teenagers put effort into anything in their lives.  And what he will get out of it will be living his dream.
The other day we had a discussion about the 4% of the Scouts that join Scouting that earn the Eagle Award.  The effort that they put into Scouting ultimately pays off in the award.  A lack of effort or desire will produce just that.  Some will fall short of the Eagle award, not due to lack of effort but drive or motivation.  They have a great experience, but fail to make it to their goal, unless the experience is the goal.
But we know for sure that you get out of life what you put into it.  Life is not unfair, it simply rewards people who make a choice to do more.  A lack of effort in life will result in not being a success.  Put more effort in, get more out.
One thing that I love about Josh’s story is that it reinforces the idea of “No excuses”.  I have watched as coaches over the years have asked the players what they want.  Results or excuses?  You can’t have both.  Put more effort into results and you will find success.  Put more effort into excuses and you get nothing.  Josh has embraced that attitude when it comes to everything in his life.
The couple of months before his 18th Birthday it was clear he would not be earning his Eagle award.  We talked and he asked if I was disappointed in him.  No I told him.  He had to make a choice and he decided on Football.  This was after a great summer of college visits, college recruiting trips, letters from schools, and the single best season of his life.  Not to mention the leadership he was showing in his Senior class, good grades, and enjoying every moment of his last year in High School.  He had put in the effort and was seeing the rewards ahead.  It is a Father’s job to help his kids dreams come true and Josh is seeing it all become real.
This weekend I spent a little time working on wrapping up summer camp, our big backpack trek, planning.  I looked at the list of Scouts attending versus the list of Scouts not going.  It reinforced the idea of what do our Scouts get out of Scouting.  If they are here to get a lot of merit badges and rank, that’s what they will get.  Anyone can earn merit badges.  The experiences, the mountain top shared experiences that can only be found seeking new adventures, the life lessons and skills, those can’t be found in the merit badge program.  They don’t require the effort, they don’t require the skills and shared trial that comes with living within the Patrol, Crew or Team.  They are what they are, but at the end of the day, they are not going to get you what you really want out of Scouting or life.  They are not what you will look back on and remember as the thing that kept you moving toward your goal.  They are not what you will see as real effort that led to reward.
So tonight we load up the truck and get ready to head South to move Josh into the next level, the next chapter of his life.  As he looks back on the last four years, it was not the games lost or won, it is not the merit badges or rank he earned in Scouts.  It is the experiences.  The friends, team mates, patrol members.  It is great seasons on the grid iron.  It is a trip to the National Jamboree.  It is the leadership he showed and experiences he shared.  It is the dream he is chasing and the reality of it coming true.
I am Proud of him.  Not just because he is my son, but because he is a good man of character.  He works hard, plays hard, and is full of life.
Ask yourself, what are you getting out of life?  If it’s not a lot… you are not trying hard enough.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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