For some of you, courage means facing your fears, like rappelling down a 50 foot tower, or getting up and speaking to a group of people. While having courage is important in those situations, there is another time when courage is even more important and yet harder to find. That is the courage to be different for the right reasons in certain situations.
You see, you can’t do things better than everyone else if you’re doing the same thing as everyone else. So, for each situation, you have to ask yourself whether it’s best to do what everyone else is doing, or to do something different. If classmates are trying to pass a test by studying, that’s probably a good idea. If they are planning to pass by cheating, it’s time to be different. If your teammates are trying to get in shape by exercising, that’s probably a good idea. If they are planning to get stronger by taking steroids, then it’s time to be different. Some decisions will be this obvious and easy, and others will be more vague and difficult. That’s when it’s key to listen to your heart and consult your family and others you trust. And, in the end, if you decide that it’s best to do something different then it’s most important to remember that a Scout is brave, and to have some courage.
[We conducted our service project.]
So, who can tell me, by raising your hand, what in the world happened last Friday?
The seventh largest earthquake in the history of the world hit Japan. It claimed 3,000-6,000 lives and did over $170 billion worth of damage, making it the most expensive catastrophe ever in the world. Now you can read and watch more about the big story. But, I want to tell you about a little story that most people won’t ever hear.
The tsunami destroyed one of Japan’s major airports, so they had to route flights to a nearby US Air Force base. But, this created a new problem. Who takes care of the 500 people landing there? “Travelers were provided food and cots and were tended to by volunteers from the Red Cross and the Boy Scouts.”
This helps put everything we learn and do in perspective. If disaster were to strike tomorrow here in Tampa, things wouldn’t be much different. People are going to turn to us, the Boy Scouts, because we are trained in survival, first aid, serving, and leading. Now, some of you understand the importance of what you learn and do, and you keep your Scout skills fresh. For the rest of you, let this be your wake up call. Brush up on your skills and make sure you’re ready for whatever might happen. We always hope that disaster won’t strike near us in our lifetime, but in case it does, it’s our motto to be prepared!