Good Turn Daily

“Do unto others…”

Bare with me as I rant on humanity.
I have been around the world and seen a lot of things… some good, some bad.  Today I had a day which caused me to ask What the hell is wrong with people?
Excuse me if the language is strong or the message makes you feel uncomfortable.. but What the hell is wrong with people?
I am going to assume that if you take the time to read this blog, at some level you agree with the Scout Oath and Law.  You may not agree in total, but we can again assume that you believe that people should be helpful and that we have an obligation to treat others as we wish to be treated.  Right?
Ok.. so lets go from that point then.. we agree at least this much.
Today in the fair city of weirdness (I am glad to say I do not maintain an address within the city limits of Portland) I witnessed to acts that almost got me throwing punches.
The city of Portland has a rather larger transient community.. call them hobo’s, bums, homeless, whatever, the fact is this population has made Portland home.  I am not opposed to this.  Portland has many outreach organizations, shelters, and government sponsored (paid) opportunities for these people.  This has in one way or another made Portland a desirable place to be homeless.  Before I go any further.. please know that this post is not in any way shape or form bashing those that find themselves in these dire straights.  There are many reasons for one to find themselves on the streets and I have the utmost compassion for those in real need.
The story here is how one of Portland’s finer citizens treated one of these folks out on the street. 
I was at an intersection waiting for the light to change.  It was a rather long light, so I found myself watching as a BMW pulled up next to me.  A pan handler approached the BMW with his sign asking for “Anything helps” .. you know the typical verbage on your average Portland pan handlers sign.  The man holding the sign looked like a fellow just down on his luck.  He was clean and dressed in modest clothing.  With him was two kids, I would guess 10 and 14 years old.  They looked embarrassed to be standing on the corner begging.
Then I heard yelling coming from the BMW.  The pan handler said “Thanks anyway” and turned around.  This is where I lost it.  The driver of the BMW then asked, in a loud voice, if the guy wanted a drink.  The man turned around just in time to take a large drink thrown at him.  It soaked him from about the belly to his knees.  The look of shock on the kids faces brought my blood to an immediate boil.  I threw my UPS truck into park and jumped out of the driver’s seat.  I ran up to the driver of the BMW and asked “What the hell is the matter with you?”  He looked at me with a surprised look and then the light turned green and he sped away.
The pan handler had moved back to the curb and told his kids that it was time to go.  I jumped back in my truck and pulled over to clear the intersection.  I had a couple of oranges and a banana in my truck, so I gave it to them.  I told the guy I wished I could do more.  He said “I understand”.  Looking at those kids my heart drop.  I have three at home and would never want to be in that position.
Now to be honest, I probably won’t be down at the shelter tomorrow handing out blankets or serving meals, but I would never treat someone like that guy got treated today.  I know that there are lots of “Street People” that have made that their choice.  Drugs, addictions to alcohol, run aways, many have made the choice to live off of the generosity of the people who pay taxes, give freely of time, talent, and money.  But then there are those, like this guy and his kids that just got a hard knock.  
I had to fill my truck up tonight on the way home.  Yep, $100 later I thought I may be standing on the corner with a sign, the penalty for driving a F150 I guess, but it holds 21 backpacks and so I will keep on driving it.  I’d rather pay the $100 then let the Prius lobby win!  Anyway, I pulled into the gas station and braced for impact.  As I sat there chatting with the attendant (yeah in Oregon we can’t pump our own gas) A lady pulled up, rolled down her window and started yelling at the attendant.  I thought for a minute, what the heck is she yelling about?  The attendant said he would be right over and started walking toward her car.  Well by now you could hear a pin drop and all attention was on this loud mouth lady.  She said she needed her car filled up and she was not about to pay $3.90 a gallon.  The attendant politely told her that with her Safeway card she would save 3 cents a gallon.  “3 cents!” the lady yelled.. “What the *&$# I am going to do with 3 cents?”  This is where I finally had to ask, “What the hell is wrong with people?”.
After the 3 cents tirade she began a barrage of profanity and berating this young man the likes I have not seen since basic training in the early ’80’s.  The attendant stood silent and took the verbal beating.  Finally, I had enough.  I got out of my car and asked if there was something that I could do to help.  She snapped her head in my direction and told me to mind my own “F'” ing business.  I informed her that she pretty much had made this everyone’s business with her loud attitude.  I asked her to take it easy on this kid.. he’s just pumping gas, doing his job, he doesn’t set the price of gas.  She then warned me to mind my business.  I told the attendant to get his manager and that may he could work something out with this lady.  She told him that he needed to start pumping gas and let loose with a bomb shell of profane words.  As the manager arrived, I turned to her and asked “What the hell is wrong with you”.  The best part of the story is that as she got in her car and drove away.. the back of her car was filled with bumper stickers proclaiming her faith.  “God is my copilot” and “WWJD?”  I am sure he would not have acted like her.
I got home tonight and thought about this incredible day of humanity.  I thought.. naw.. this is just a freak thing… but then I thought, if I saw two of these acts today.. me.. all by myself, how many more are happening everyday all over?
It makes me upset.
What the hell is wrong with people?  At the outset, I assumed that if you read my blog, then you believe in at least parts of the Scout Oath and Law.
“To help other people at all times”, “To do my DUTY to God and my Country”, to be “Helpful, Courteous, and Kind.”  And at the end of the day something that every major religion on Earth preaches.. “To do unto others as you would have done to you”.
Simple.  So what the hell is wrong with people?
I really mean it when I say…
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Oath and Law, respect, Scout Law, Values | 5 Comments

The Importance of Service

My twins are 18 and are getting close to graduating from High School.  The other night they brought home a form for documenting Community service.  In our State there is a requirement to perform 8 hours of community service.  I agree with this requirement, I think it, at a minimum forces today’s youth to at least understand the need for volunteerism and service.
So why am I blogging about this?  Well, this was real easy for us as we document all the service our Scouts do.  I mean, heck.. just to get to the rank of Life Scout the Scout will have completed at least 12 hours of service to his community.  Now add in all the rest of the service he will do in the course of a year and the graduation requirements are met with ease.
In the last two years I have had to go back into our troop documents and produce service records for graduating Seniors.  This becomes a real important part of the graduates record for the School.  I have talked with our High School about this requirement, one of the counselors said that they appreciate those Seniors that were or are Boy Scouts.  It sure helps them out in understanding the need for service.
Our family participates in the Relay for Life each year, and our High School is a host for the relay annually.   Our youngest son (Life Scout) is on the committee for the School Relay program.  The spirit of service has been grown in them from a very early age and I am happy that they now, without Dad or Mom pushing, asking, or even encouraging, they find ways to be of service.  Now if we could get them to clean their rooms…
Service is an important part of Scouting going all the way back to its beginnings.  The Lone Scout in the story of William D. Boyce lost in the London Fog, Food drives, Scrap metal drives during WW II, Goodwill/Good Turn, not to mention all the countless hours that Troops spend on local projects that benefit their communities, Charter Partners, and Wilderness areas.
Service has always been one of the Hallmarks of Scouting.  Even providing service within the Troop in leadership positions plays a major role in developing the spirit of service in our Scouts.  It is in this spirit that our young men start the habit of being in service to others.  I think that when they understand the importance of this, it will last them a life time.
Every year Scouts all over conduct Scouting for Food drives.  This is a great way to get in the community and do a great service to those that truly in need, but we can take that a step further.  Our Troop does the food drive, then helps sort, box, and store the food in our local food bank.  As this happens they all see the direct impact of their work on the drive.  As the food drive is always on a Saturday, the Scouts get the opportunity to see those in need arrive to collect the much needed food.  It is a sad that there is a need, but the fact of the matter is that there is.  We do not parade the Scouts around to get an eye full, but the behind the scenes glimpse that they do get is enough to instill in them the want to do more.
So I think it is a great thing that our Schools require service to the community as part of their graduation.  I think it a even greater that the Boy Scouts maintain service as one of its core values.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Advancement, blog, Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Leadership, Service, Values | Leave a comment

Stephen Bechtel, Jr.

A quick video about a Scout that is giving back.   Thought I’d share this with you.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, High Adventure, Jamboree, Leadership, Service | Leave a comment

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Climbing, Cooking, Good Turn Daily, High Adventure, Ideals, Jamboree, Journey to Excellence, Just fun, Leadership, Leave no trace, Motto, Oath and Law, respect, Scout, Scout Law, Scouting, Scouts, Service, Skills, stories | Leave a comment

To Help other People…

Yesterday was a great day.  The world did not come to end and I had a great time with a great group of kids.  Yesterday I was shown just how special the kids of today are.  My youngest son is on a Relay for Life team.  They fund raise for a great cause, a cure for Cancer.  There is no one out there reading this blog that has not been touched by cancer, and I am thankful that organizations like Relay for Life are out there working to fund that opportunity to turn cancer into a curable affliction. 
So yesterday started out at a Pancake breakfast at Applebee’s.  A great fund raiser that the kids really enjoyed.  Then it was off to the High School, where they joined 200 of their fellow students in a Relay for Life.  The student government of the High School planned, prepared, and executed yesterdays event and I am impressed with their dedication and caring nature to take on such a task.  They could have easily just had a dance, a car wash, or bake sale.  But these young people put together a first class event.  They had games, food, and music (live music).  They invited cancer survivors to speak and share their thanks, which was moving.  But I think the one single thing that impressed me the most was that all of the teams at the event were made up of students from the High School.  The band had a team, student government had a team, various clubs and groups of friends all showed up to support this great cause.  They arrived with team t-shirts and set up their “camps”.   The administrative staff of the High School pitched in and cooked burgers, hot dogs, and breakfast this morning.. all out of their own pockets.
It moved me that these kids cared enough to spend their entire weekend dedicated to this cause.  Early this morning, about 2 AM or so, they stopped the relay and everyone walked into a dark gym.  Around the gym floor were bags with candles in them, on the bags were messages written by the students to loved ones that have been effected by cancer.  We sat silently on the floor surrounded by these luminaries as a few students stood and shared their connection with cancer.  A set of sisters that lost their father to cancer, one that lost a grandpa and the stories touched each and everyone in the gym.  They asked for people to stand if they had been touched by a Mother or Father with cancer… people stood, a Grandfather or Grandmother.. more stood, a spouse, friend, brother, sister.. even more took to their feet, still in silence.  Nephews?  Nieces?.. still more stood.  By the time they had asked these questions all but a small hand full of the participants were standing.  I could hear the muffled tears and heart felt rubbing of backs as the students looked around and truly saw the impact on just their group that cancer has brought.  And when the emotional roller coaster was about to let me off.. we were invited to quietly walk around the Luminaries, reading the bags and seeing the painful messages.. “Hang in there Mom”, ” I miss you Dad”, “In loving memory of my Grandma”.. touched.
We went back into the commons to continue the relay, as I sat with a few other parents we looked around the room and these great kids.  We shared how special they are, not just to us, but that how these kids act today will make our world such a better place tomorrow.  The current generation often gets a bad rap.. they are slackers that need to pull their pants up and take out the ear buds… but you know what.. I think those are too broad of paint strokes… these kids are socially aware and care.  They have hearts of gold and want to help.  They are growing up in a time of super media and up to the second information.  They are smarter than we often give them credit for and they are moving in a world where things are changing faster than they can learn it.  The jobs that they will have after graduation have not even been invented yet.  The language they speak evolves and the technology that they use is out dated the minute they walk out of the store.
I look at these kids and their friendships, the way they treat each other, their caring nature and  I see a great future.
We have great kids.  I am proud of them.
Part of the Relay for Life obviously is the relay itself.  Team Kellogg (the team my son is on) walked in one hour shifts.  I took a few of those hours with them.  As I walked I listened to music, podcasts, and chatted with some of the kids.  After the last shift I walked I could not help but feel great about the walking and what we were doing there.. which of course brought it all back to Scouting.  “To help other People at all times”  Team Kellogg raised close to $900 dollars for Relay for Life.  I do not think they understand the impact that money will make.  They were awarded the “Gold Team” distinction for raising the most in this Relay for Life event.  While it is great to be the winners, it is better to know that what they won is going to help.
#100daysStrong is doing that in each of us too.. committment to a goal and achieving it will show that we are serious about fitness and healthy choices.  How we live will be reflected back in the Scouts, and in this case, the friends of my son, our sons and daughters and how they live.  If we truly care about it.. we need to share it.
I read about American kids being obese and unhealthy.  Well, we can help change that, just like Team Kellogg is helping to find a cure for cancer.
Day 2 Health tip:
Make healthy eating and physical activities fun!
Take advantage of physical activities you and your friends enjoy doing together and eat the foods you like. Be adventurous – try new sports, games and other activities as well as new foods. You’ll grow stronger, play longer, and look and feel better! Set realistic goals – don’t try changing too much at once.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Leadership, Values | Tags: | Leave a comment

A Scout is Reverent SMMPodcast #83

In this show we explore ways that we can encourage our Scouts to find their faith.  A Scout is Reverent, so how do we help them practice it?
In this show we also start our new segment Blog Roll!
This show is sponsored by the Other Scoutmaster Handbook
Enjoy the Show!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Categories: Character, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Oath and Law, podcast, Scout Law, Values | 1 Comment

Is someone watching?

Have you ever seen those TV shows where they have hidden cameras, trying to either catch someone doing something stupid or trapping them in a situation they have to explain away?
They are great testaments to how people act and what they will do.  Yesterday while on my route I wondered if I was being placed in one of those situations, and truth be told, they answer is sort of.
I drove up to a stop and noticed that there was a bundle of money laying in the street at the end of a drive way.  I pulled forward, selected the package and began to walk to the house.  In my path were these bills.  I picked them up and carried them to the house.   I set the package down by the door and placed the money on top of the packages, knocked on the door and walked away.
As I approached my truck and man came running from the neighboring house.  He asked me to stop and I did.  Asking him if he had a question, the man replied “What did you do with the money?  Give me the Money!.. there was $43 dollars there and I saw you pick it up.”
I explained to him that the money was sitting on the package that I left at his neighbors door and he would find it all there.  He went to the door and found the money.  Walking back toward me he explained that he had placed the money there and that they have had a rash of theft in the neighborhood and he was trying to catch someone in the act.  He pointed out that several neighbors had installed cameras on their front porches and that they would catch whomever was stealing from them.
I told him that would never be me and he said “I see that”.
Ever since I was a little boy I have been taught that a true test of your character is what you do when others are not looking.  Its is always easy to put on an act in front of people, but what you do when the spot light is not on you really tests your character.
I tell this to our scouts all the time and hope that what they are learning in Scouting will make them good men of character.  Its pretty simple really.  Just do the right thing.. always and you have nothing to worry about.
If you ever find yourself looking over your shoulder.. you are about to do something wrong.  Let Character be your guide.  You can find a great set of rules that guide your character in the Scout Law.
That man that challenged me over $43 learned that that there are still people in our community that have character. 

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Oath and Law, Scout Law, Values | Leave a comment

Lesson in Civility

Recently Skynews reported in an article “10 things that we can learn from Japan”  I thought this was interesting, because beyond the obvious it is a look in the mirror, a way to judge ourselves and the culture in which we are raising our kids.  Not so long ago we witnessed the tragedy of Katrina in New Orleans.  As much as the hurricane left a path of destruction, the pain came from seeing how our fellow man treated one another.  The Rodney King riots is another example.  We can debate justice another time, but the actions following the verdict were just a terrible, if not more than the beating of Rodney King.  In our country we burn cars in the street and vandalize after a sports team wins a championship.. my goodness.. what are we?
Look at natural disasters that have devastated parts of our world and see what man does in its aftermath.  Haiti?  New Orleans?  Los Angels?  Japan?  Take a look at a part of the article about the recent devastation in Japan and use it to measure ourselves as a Nation.. as a World.

1. THE  CALM-  Not a single visual of  chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.
2. THE  DIGNITY-  Disciplined queues for water  and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture. Their patience is  admirable and praiseworthy.
3. THE  ABILITY-  The incredible architects, for  instance. Buildings swayed but didn’t fall. 
4. THE GRACE  (Selflessness)-  People  bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get  something. 
5. THE  ORDER-  No looting in shops. No  honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just  understanding.
6. THE  SACRIFICE-  Fifty workers stayed back to  pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?
 7. THE  TENDERNESS-  Restaurants cut prices. An  unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the  weak.
 8. THE  TRAINING-  The old and the children, everyone  knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.
 9. THE  MEDIA-  They showed magnificent  restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage. Most of  all – NO POLITICIANS TRYING TO GET CHEAP MILEAGE.
10. THE  CONSCIENCE-  When the power went off in a  store, people put things back on the shelves and left  quietly.

Now I am not saying the heroic and wonderful things have not happened in our darkest hours, but by and large, we have a lot to learn about civility and humanity.  Whats this got to do with a Scouting Blog.
Read the Oath and Law and see how well the Japanese measure up to it.
Just an observation from one Scouter that wants to be better.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Oath and Law, respect, Scout Law, Values | 1 Comment

Who are you waiting for?

Tonight before I left work I popped into the restroom to clean up, wash my hands etc…  I opened the door to find a sink over flowing and about 6 inches of water on the floor.  One of the sinks had been plugged with paper towel and the sink left on.  I thought to myself “who would do this?”  I turned off the water, rolled up my sleeves and started digging out the paper towels that were jammed into the drain.  Another employee walked in and saw me elbow deep in the sink and standing in the water.  He asked “What are you doing?”.. ” You don’t need to do that, some one else will clean that up.”  I looked at him and asked him who?  And why would I leave it alone.  Just because someone else showed a lack of respect, does not mean that we should.
You see this all comes down to respect.  Someone did not have enough respect for our company and thought it would be funny to be disrespectful.  Waste of water, paper towels, and someone elses time cleaning up the mess is a total lack of respect.
We don’t run in camp, why?  Because you can trip on a guy line and break someone else’s tent.. that is a sign of disrespect.  We see trash all over our town.. a lack of respect.. but then again.. some one else will clean it up.. right?
So who are we waiting for?  Who is it that cleans up our mess?  Who is it that turns off the water?  Who is it that repairs the broken tent?  Who is that pays for waste and abuse?
One act of disrespect causes a wave of “Some one else” having to react.  Some one else cleaning a mess.  Some one else… well you get the point.
Scouts and Scouters.  The word Respect is not in the Scout oath or Law.. or is it.  Don’t you think Every word in the Law has an element of Respect in it?  I do.
So who are you waiting for?
One word… RESPECT.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Leadership, Oath and Law, respect, Values | Tags: | 2 Comments

>A moment of your time


The other day I was out and about and I ended up in the check out line at a local store.  There was an elderly gentleman in line ahead of me waiting patiently as the check out clerk seemed to be struggling a bit.
It was one of the weird situations where no one really talks, let alone makes eye contact.  I was thumbing through some notes on my iPhone when I looked up and there he was.. making eye contact with me, the elderly man was staring at me with a puzzled look on his face.  I smiled and said “Hey, how ya doing?”  He nodded his head and replied “very well, thank you for asking.”  He asked what I had there in my hand and why young people can’t seem to live without “all these devices”?  I told him it was my phone and it really has made my life more organized.  He told me that when he was a young man, he carried a little note book and it did the same thing at a tenth of the cost.  I laughed, as did he and then he asked what was so important that it had my attention in the check out line.  I told him I was reviewing the roster of my Scout Troop for the up coming camp out.  He said “Really?  You can do that?  I told him “Sure, would you like to see?”  We moved up a few steps in line and I showed him the roster, then some pictures from the National Jamboree, and then a few other cool apps, like the one you can see the stars and planets with.  He was amazed and a great conversation started.  He told me that he had been in Scouts back in the 40’s and 50’s and was a Scoutmaster till he had to go off to war in Korea.  He said that he had been to the Jamboree at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in 1950.  “It was the biggest thing I ever did in Scouting” he said.  I shared with him my Jamboree experience of last year and told him it too was the biggest thing I have ever done in Scouting.  Well, the conversation went on till it was finally his turn to check out.  The clerk had a button on that read “IN TRAINING”.  She was very apologetic and fumbled to get everything in the mans bag.  He walked away and it was my turn to check out.  I smiled at her and told her that it was fine on about the fifth time she glanced at me and said “sorry”.  I assured her that she was not the first person to have worn a “IN TRAINING” button and that it was going to be ok.  She said thanks and gave me my change.
I walked out of the store to find the elderly man sitting on a bench.  I asked if everything was ok?  He said it was, and that he was just waiting on the bus to take him back to the retirement home.  I asked if he needed company.  He did not want to bother.. I told him I had nothing but time.  We sat and talked for about 20 minutes, he told me his wife had passed a few years back and now he just kinda wanders through his last days.  He shared some fond memories of his Scouting days and time he spent with his sons camping, he said he missed those days and wished he could go back in time.  He was all alone, yeah, the retirement home was nice and had a great staff, but most of the old folks just played cards and took naps.. I laughed.  And the bus arrived.  He shook my hand, smiled and got on the bus.  As he drove away, he looked out the window and gave me a Scout salute.  He had a big grin on his face.
Heading to my truck I could not help but smile and think about what a great guy that was.  Some ones Dad, Uncle, Grandpa.. A veteran, a Scout, a great guy.
You know, Doing a good turn each day might just mean giving someone a moment of your time.  It made his day I am sure… because it sure did make mine.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Good Turn Daily, Scout Law, Scouting, Scoutmaster minute | 5 Comments

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