Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Recently I was asked by a friend to write a letter of commendation for his son who is achieving the rank of Eagle as a Boy Scout. I agreed to do so to honor his son who has persevered through much and has fulfilled all of the requirements to reach that elite status of Scouting. I was a Boy Scout a very long time ago but I only reached the rank of First Class. I know many who read this article may have either been a Boy Scout, a Cub Scout or a Girl Scout and may be able to understand and identify with what I am going to say.
In regard to my own personal experiences as a Boy Scout there are many lessons I learned as a Scout that I carry with me even to this day. In constructing the letter I went to the Boy Scout website to re-familiarize myself with things I may have forgotten over the years. As I began reading the Scout’s Oath (or Promise) a time in my youth began to come back to me.
On my Honor, I will do my best.
To do my duty to God and my Country
And to obey the Scout Law.
To help others at all times
To keep myself physically strong,
Mentally awake and morally straight.
Being mentally awake and morally straight are very important qualities to have. I am not making light of those qualities but the phrase “To keep myself physically strong” jumped out at me as a commitment I made to myself taking that pledge as a young man. That pledge has stuck with me since my childhood. I will be the first to admit that being an athlete and former football player have influenced me tremendously in regard to my awareness of fitness but I cannot help but think that deep in the back of my mind resonates that promise from Scouting “to keep myself physically strong”.
If you have ever been a Girl or Boy Scout on any level, fitness has been one of the key components of being a member of those organizations. If you are a parent or grandparent and have been in those organizations you should know the benefits of living an active lifestyle like those of a Scout by going on long hikes, swimming, boating or just being active outdoors. I am not trying to convince you to have your kids join the Scouts but I would strongly encourage you to get your children and grandchildren involved with group programs or individually to move, engage in running or taking part in activities inside but preferably outside to strengthen their muscles and develop coordination. It is not necessarily the muscular development in the activities that is most important but the strengthening of vital organs such as the heart and lungs which is incidental to muscular or cardio training that is most essential.
The habit of taking a good long walk several times a week when possible is a valuable asset for getting the body properly trained for life. Keeping our bodies strong not only affect heart and lung health but also aids tremendously in keeping the brain alert and healthy with vital oxygen distribution through increased blood flow throughout the body.
Sometimes there is much that can be learned from a simple request like writing a letter to re-connect you to something that was so important in the overall themes of our life. Reconnecting with those Scout roots also tells me:
Once a Scout, always a Scout!