I’m the proud uncle of two outstanding teenage boys. Both are heavily involved in sports, school activities, church groups, and scholastic organizations. They’ve been raised well, and are both on their way to positive futures with nothing but full lives ahead. One recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, an honor within the Boy Scouts of America organization carrying with it a super-high level of honor and achievement. It’s something that only a small percentage of young people ever reach within that establishment, and it required a huge dedication of time, energy, study, and likeability among his peers to acquire. It also represented an investment of money and devotion from his parents; a willingness to see their boy learn what it takes to become successful in today’s ultra competitive society.
I attended my nephew’s ceremony when he received his Eagle Scout medal. The Boy Scouts give each recipient a terrific service filled with its adult leaders and other scouts who make speeches pointing out the efforts involved in achieving such a wonderful honor. While attending, the scout master who resided over the ceremony pointed out that many of our countries leaders were also Eagle Scouts: Texas Governor Rick Perry, business legend Ross Perot, TV journalist Walter Cronkite, mega movie director Steven Spielberg, and many of our nations astronauts and high ranking military to name a few. It placed my young relative in a small grouping of high achievers, cementing his place in Boy Scouts alumni forever. And I can venture to say it’s laid a certain foundation for him to succeed in.
I know, I ‘m going on and on about my family member. But, here’s the point I’m leaning toward: When our nations youth are given the opportunity, and encouraged to become involved in activities which help them grow, teach them responsibility, become a leader, and get their hands dirty, honorable adults become the result. They’re more than likely to stay out of trouble, and learn the value of studying, teaching, and enjoying a cherished camaraderie with others who are working toward the same goals. From making fires among frigid cold to studying endless rules and lore passed down through the decades, a well-rounded youth becomes tomorrow’s successful adults.
The Boy Scouts are just one avenue for our youth to explore. Sports, school, and church organizations are others. But, no matter which ones our kids are drawn to, an involved youth is a productive youth; traits which colleges and employers will always be hunting for while looking to add to student bodies and lists of new employees.
There are so many destructive avenues for kids to turn down these days. Temptations are everywhere, and can cause big time damage if explored: teenage pregnancies, drugs, alcohol, cults, street crimes, and gangs as examples. And then there are parents who are non-existent, or spend very little time with their children. The results of all of these are youth who simply don’t feel validated, loved, appreciated, wanted, and oftentimes becoming mentally out-of-balance as they age. And it doesn’t matter what economic or racial status they belong to, the foundations and morals our children are raised with inside their homes directly affect what pathways they take into adulthood.
My last article was a tribute to my father, and father’s day in general. And I can’t help but overemphasize what a positive effect my dad’s, and mother’s actions had on me as I grew up. No, I wasn’t a perfect kid and aren’t as an adult, but I’ve always managed to know my rights from wrongs and distinguish which temptations and actions will lead me into trouble. I’ve avoided a lot in my life thanks to the love of my parents’ upbringing, and it’s my wish for children everywhere to have the same advantage.
If you have children, love them hard from the day of their birth. Teach them well, give them a religious upbringing, get their hands dirty planting a garden, changing the oil in a car, mowing a yard, or swinging a hammer among your home teaching them valuable, basic work skills. Give them something to reach for: a college degree, winning sports trophy, straight-A report card, good job, good home, and good spouse to share their life with. School them about treating others with kindness, generosity, and respect. Help them explore a belief in God, and how that injects morality in a world where the devil resides around every corner.
Like it’s been said so many times before, our children are our future.