The Road

roadsI can not remember where or who I heard this from, but I recalled a quote the other day that I thought was a good way of illustrating our job as Scout leaders and parents.
“We are not building roads for our children, we are building children for the roads.”
Essentially it is saying that we can lay out everything to make life easy for our kids or we can prepared them for the road of life, which we all know is not easy.
When I thought about this quote, it got me to thinking about some of the ways we discuss our Scouting programs.  As you all know I am a fan of traditional Scouting and doing things the right way.  I am not a fan of giving everyone a trophy and I know that not every Scout will be an Eagle Scout… nor should they be.  If they have been properly trained in their young lives to work hard, then they will reap the rewards of hard work.
The road of life is difficult and only made easier by getting on it and traveling.  Know that it is hard, but stay the course.  The beauty of the road is that you get to pick your destination.   You can pick the path of least resistance and when you get there you will find that it took you to a place a fewer rewards.  You can get on the highway of success and its direction will lead you to the world of Success.  But you need to know that there will be detours and pot holes, but if you negotiate them, you will be successful.
So as Scout leaders and parents we need to encourage our children to take that road and prepare them for the detours and pot holes.  We do not need to drive them there with the knowledge of the location of the pot holes and hardships.  You can build the road, nice and smooth.  Pave it with gold and make it a fast lane for your child, but he will not get the most out of it and will fail to learn lessons along the way.
On the other hand, we can train him up to set a course, know how to go around a detour and take it slow on a pot hole filled road.  He will learn and develop and by the time he gets where he is going he will be a man who you will be proud of.
Last night at Round table I had a little chat with a Scouter about Eagle Scouts.  He made the comment that every Scout should be an Eagle Scout and that the sooner they get it, the better.
Again, I thought about the road.  Did we build the road for the Scout or did we build the Scout for the road.  I don’t know the answer in his particular case, but how many Eagle Scouts have we seen that are not prepared for the road.  I personally can tell you that I have seen many.  While I am proud of their accomplishment, I wonder if we as Scouters are not quick to reward and less enthusiastic to take the time and build that young man.
The road of life is a tough one.  We owe it to our children and our Scouts to build them ready for the road of life.
Have a Great Scouting Day!


  1. We need to go back to making First Class more meaningful. Full of all of the skills we need the boys to learn. Eagle should be the icing on the cake for the best of the best. Too many families see it as the required result of joining Scouts.


  2. IMHO: Too many Scouts are pushed relentlessly toward Eagle, with little acknowledgement that the other ranks have have merit other than just milestones. Let’s celebrate the program for what it is – advancement is just one of many feedback mechanisms, and some boys don’t respond well to that vehicle at all – they just enjoy the experience.


  3. How sad that some leaders think every Scout should be Eagle as soon as possible. That philosophy may be okay at the Cub level, but is not for BSA. Since the youth sign off through First Class, real skill varies widely. Frankly, the real learning comes when those Scouts have to teach the skills to the younger Scouts. I am a firm believer that every required merit badge should NOT be part of a troop’s activities, so only those who really want Eagle will do the extra to earn the rank. Finally, the youth should be encouraged to do high adventure, Order of the Arrow, Venturing, etc. Those last few years encourage the youth to be good citizens and more capable Scouts/Scouters (i.e., “givers” rather than “takers”). When a parent tells you their Scout wants to be the youngest ever to complete Eagle, my experience is that that is really the parent talking. Scout leaders need to keep it fun for the youth so they stay with the program and find their best road — which is rarely the easiest.


    1. I agree in total. Thanks Craig. We actually go a step further with the merit badge program. We do not work on any during Troop time. One of the desired results of the merit badge program is working the Adult Interaction method.
      Great comment. I appreciate it.


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