The other day I went to the high school to pick up my youngest son from Football practice.  Practice was running late, so I hung out and watched as the players ran sprints and did up downs.  Now, for those of you that have played a little football, you know that after 3 hours of practice the last thing you want to do is wind sprints and up downs.  But the team seemed to run and run and run.  After each lap and set of up downs the coach would tell them to watch the ball and then they would get in a ready position.  The idea was to be disciplined and ready to finish games in the fourth quarter.  He asked the players to give more effort.
The longer they ran.. the less effort the coach would see.  They were tired and as they got more tired, the less effort they would give.. the less effort they gave, the more mistakes they would make, the more mistakes they would make, the more they ran… and so went the cycle.
It all came down to effort.  Who was willing to give more when it counted.
I stood there and watched and thought.. yep, it is about effort.  Life is about effort.  You can over come many things with more effort.  The harder you work, the more you will be rewarded.  If you apply the effort to any task you will eventually see results.
In the fourth quarter, weather that is on the football field, in the classroom, or in a Scout troop effort matters.
Here is what I see way to often… a lack of effort.  I see this in most things in life.  Way to many times we see our young men just try to get by, to “Max the Minimum”.  To give the least amount of effort and expect the same results.
We see that a lot in our Scouts..  Way to often do we see them avoid patrol chores, planning, or pitch in when they are needed.  Way to often do we see them demonstrate a lack of effort when it comes to finishing tasks like service projects.  And then there is advancement.  I see a lot of Scouts that expect to be moved along, just like when they were in Cub Scouts, with their peers.  Or I see the effort coming from their parents.  That lack of effort will not get the work done.  I suppose that’s why only 4% become Eagle Scouts.
Now, we won’t make them do wind sprints and up downs.. no we just encourage them to “Do their best”.. well, I guess what I am saying is that maybe “Their best” is not good enough.  Maybe they need to apply more effort and make their best better.
This is the game of life and where do we want them to be in the fourth quarter.  I want them to be winning.
I want them to be successful.  I want them to work hard for what they get, not expect a hand out or to be “moved along” with their peers.  No I want to see them give the effort to their lives.  It is then that they will appreciate the things that they earn.  It is with more effort that they will be great men.
I love these teachable moments they seem to pass in front of us each day.  Watching as my son and his team mates ran until they proved that they wanted to be winners made me look at other areas of our life.  Wouldn’t it be great if every one in the School gave that much effort, or in the neighborhood and community.
Living the Scout oath and Law takes effort.  It’s not easy and it’s not designed to be.  People that do not give effort just get by.  Those that give extra effort succeed.
Have a Great Scouting Day!


  1. “On my honor, I will do my best…”

    True that it is the Cub Scout motto, but for a reason; to prepare them for Boy Scouts. I don’t remember anywhere promising to be “proficient”.

    Nonetheless, I expect my scouts to do their best, but their REAL best. Boys and young men don’t always know their true worth, and need opportunities to be pushed, even if they won’t push themselves. The balance for the Scoutmaster is to push them to their best without making every experience miserable, but rather, making it fun.


    1. I understabd what Mike is saying, when it comes to advancement we require a certain degree of proficiency. “Demonstrate, Show, Discuss” are commonly found in the requirements for advancement.
      I agree with Scott that we need to keep it fun while pushing the Scout to find his best. I guess some of that goes back to our friend “Guided Discovery”.
      What I don’t understand is why we accept less effort? I know this to be true because we see it all around us. Going back to the football team or the newspaper talking about how our kids are failing in the classroom. A lot of this is due to a lack of effort. Just not putting in the work.
      And the other part of this is misdirected effort. I see young folks today that will spend lots of time and energy doing something wrong or trying to get out of work, while if they spent the same amount of time and energy doing the work.. they would be done. (Another rant for another time.)
      While profiency is not in the oath.. it is expected.


  2. I am continually frustrated by the Drill Sargent model used almost universally by school coaches. Good God, men, it’s just a game! Yeah, I’ll grant you we all suffer from inertia, but this un-virtuous circle of yelling-shirking-yelling is preposterous. The level of effort is the symptom; the worth of the goal is the disease. We’ve got it all backwards.


    1. Are you saying that preparing for a conquest is not a worthy goal? The article is about the effort it takes to prepare. The analogy we are to apply is about the effort it takes to get the desired results in life. If we do not prepare for the 4th quarter, how can expect to win?


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