Last week I was surprised when I was given the patch for the messenger of peace initiative. This is a unit and individual recognition, and so when I got it while I was down at out council office, I was humbled. The person that submitted it said that it was for the “Work I do using media to improve our Scouting world”. Again, I am thankful, and I am sure that our unit is going to get this also for a recent project we completed.
The question came to my mind, why have I not seen anyone wearing this? Are units unaware? Are they just doing it? It’s obviously not about the patch, but the initiative is such a worthy one, that we in the Scouting world should be embracing it.
I went back and reread the letter at the BSA web site. I suppose I have always been one that is impressed with the grand scope of the Scouting movement. In short I think it is cool to be apart of somehting this big and something that is world-wide and yet has shared values. There is not much else in our world, save religions, that can say that. And look what a mess religions have made in the world. I am not suggesting that faith in a higher power has screwed things up.. I am saying however that people tend to screw it up. Scouting seems to have stood the test of time. Yes, we have our ups and downs, but the values and mission of the Scouting movement have not changed. People come and go, but those that “Run Scouting” at the World and National levels all seem to understand the good that will come from Scouting when allowed.
I have talked with many Scouters about our National office and our Council/ District. There seems to be an overwhelming idea that they are in it for the money and numbers. And to that I say.. yes.. yes they are. And then I say I am glad they are promoting the program, getting money and sponsors, pushing recruiting and retention, and developing relationships in our community. If they didn’t do it.. who would. ME? No way.. I am to busy working Scouting where Scouting matters. Being a messenger for peace starts at the unit level. Where the Scouts are. Too many Scouters get wrapped up in the wrong things. They worry about what everyone else is doing, most of the time with little or no impact of them.. but people are people and you have to worry. If they spent as much energy in their units, growing them, teaching them, letting them learn and develop, their unit would be world-class. But they choose to get wrapped up in politics and he said she said. This is how things get screwed up. I guess that’s how things get messed up globally.
So back to my thinking about why I don’t see this patch around. Well that thought led to our global Scouting community and how many Scouts and Scouters in the 220 countries and territories that are participating in this. Just think. Take 220 countries and have all their Scouts and Scouters working toward peace. There would never be war again. Oh silly me. We would have to get the politicians out-of-the-way… but wait… we could. The people could force this change. I really believe that it could happen.
Remember that in 1920 there was a world Jamboree.. just a few years after the First World War. If you know history, just because the war was over does not mean that things were peaceful, especially in Europe. 34 countries showed up
As most of you know, I am a combat veteran and I certainly support the efforts of our military and those that lead it, sometimes begrudgingly. And I am believe that what we did in Iraq was just and worth it. I have no regrets. But when I look back at the pain that wars cause, the ripping apart at families, the destruction and the lives that have to be repaired after these conflicts it is it not uncommon to ask, Why? What for? Now there are bad people in the world and I for one am glad to know that the world no longer has a guy named Saddam Hussein on it. Those people need to be stopped and removed. The Hitlers and Stalin’s of the world need to go. But dealing with the “Bad vacuum” is the next issue. Enter Scouting and people with real good values.
As a messenger of peace I think it is up to us to do what we can to fix our Three meter zone. We all can do it. We just don’t.
I guess it all comes down to people. How do we change them? How do we effect that change in our community. Baden-Powell had that idea back in 1907 and started seeing the reality of a world-wide peace movement as Scouting grew. It is now up to us to carry that torch. Will you?
Stop worrying about the things you can’t control. Control the things you can and be an influence. Influence this change in your units and community. Demand more of your elected officials.. you know the folks that swear to work for you. Hold their feet to the fire and don’t settle for men and women that lack character to be our leaders. Work hard to fulfill the mission of Scouting. Be a messenger of peace, let your actions speak louder than your words. And for goodness sake let people know that we are committed to being an instrument of peace.
So what does it mean when I challenge you all to “Have a Great Scouting day”? Live the values of Scouting. Keep the promise that you make in the Oath. Be a messenger of peace.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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