Living the Scout Oath

September 24, 2002

Too often, as adult leaders, we fail to recognize that the finest examples of leadership come not from our peers, but from those we seek to lead.

A young Scout participated in the D.A.R.E. program at school.  Near the end of the program each student was to write a story, poem, or essay about what they learned in the program.  The writings would be judged by the police officer who taught the program and the top writing would be read by the winner during the graduation ceremony later that week.  The Scout chose to write a poem.  The day before it was due he asked his Dad for help finding a word that would rhyme with one he already had in the text.  The Dad made several suggestions.  The Scout chose one and went on to complete the project.  The next day his poem was announced the first place winner and he beamed with pride.  Later that morning, as he was discussing it with friends, it was mentioned somehow that his Dad had given him a suggestion in an early draft of the poem.  A student who overheard the discussion complained to their parents who subsequently called a the principal and demanded that his poem be disqualified (the project was supposed to have been his effort, and his alone).  The principal summoned the Scout to her office.  "Did your father help you write this poem?" she inquired.  He answered yes.  To which he was told his entry would have to be disqualified.  As he was leaving, the principal found herself overcome by his honesty and sincerity.  She stopped him and asked why he had responded so truthfully.  If he had said "no," she would have had to dismiss the matter altogether.  With tears in his eyes, he responded, "Ms. Frye, don't you know?  A Scout is always truthful!"  She was so struck by the sincerity of his response that she called the Dad at work to tell him this story.

The Dad could not have been more proud of his boy; he had completely internalized the meaning and ideals of the Scout Oath and Law.  In him was a role model that even some adults could look to.

Good night, gentlemen.