i have a little nephew-cousin. he is my best friend cousin’s oldest. i know technically that makes him my first cousin once removed but nephew-cousin is how i think of him. this summer he is going to finish up his eagle. he is only 13.
this nephew-cousin has a goal to complete every. single. merit badge. this is a pretty lofty goal. one that few scouts have conquered. there are only 21 merit badges required to achieve the rank of eagle, but joseph is going to get all 127.
as with many young scouts, they ascend the ranks assisted by dedicated leaders and devoted parents. in my nephew-cousin’s case, his siblings have even
suffered through pitched in, being good sports as family events and activities many times surrounded a merit badge topic.
each merit badge needs a merit badge counselor and after visiting my cousins last summer i decided that i should volunteer. i filled out the forms, submitted references, sat through hilarious trainings of appropriate vs. inappropriate adult behavior around scouts, and checked the box next to: reading, cooking, public speaking, communications and journalism.
this week an 11-year old scout sat at my table and took notes as we discussed different books he could read this summer. before he arrived i was a little nervous, i thought maybe i wasn’t immersed enough in the scouting program, maybe i’d make a mistake.
but chatting with him about what world topics he was interested in and what different resources he could use to learn about them, i realized he was pretty new at this too. the fact that he confidently had a discussion with me, asked thoughtful questions and set a goal made me very proud of him.
he is training for life by gradually learning skills that will help him be successful no matter what direction he goes. i have worked directly with the youth and children at church for the past 7 years. i enjoy taking an active part in their lives.
no matter how grown up we are, sometimes we feel like we’ve become childlike and are starting all over again. in a way we are in training for those moments of newness.
while much depends on our endurance and commitment, there is still the factor of what we can offer others. a sacrifice of sorts to bare with them what is heavy. willing partners who can lift hands when they hang down.
i love the account in exodus when moses’ hands were heavy and aaron and hur stayed them up, one on either side of him. “…and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun” (exodus 17).
the reality and beauty is that we don’t need to be a moses to merit that support.
run, by snow patrol