My boys earned their Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts of America-one in 2014 and one in 2017. This was before girls were let into Scouts so I’m not going to address that. My purpose here today is talking about how I held my boys accountable.
So Nathan when he was in my home tended to do the bare minimum-in school and at home. He brought up his grades mostly because he got tired of him mother’s lectures, guidelines, rants, bribes, etc. He graduated high school with grades and an ACT score well enough to get into college. But it was all because his mother had her figurative foot in his hindquarters. He did not have as much initiative as his mom. The Boy Scouts of America have secretly said behind every Eagle Scout is his mother with her foot settled nicely in his behind. I have to say my kids are no exception.
There are several requirements a scout has to earn in order to be qualified to start his Eagle project. After Nathan earned those requirements, he and I sat down with some soda and chips (a far cry from our earlier milk and cookies). We discussed the Eagle Scout rank badge, and the doors it could open for him. Especially this kid, since he wanted to go law enforcement and/or military. He agreed this rank is the highest in Boy Scouts and it was important for him to earn it.
So I asked Nathan’s permission. I asked his permission to hold him accountable to complete this Eagle project, stand before the Eagle Board, and earn the most honorable rank in Boy Scouts of America-a rank that less than 6% earn on average. Nathan agreed to let me hold him accountable.
Nathan chose as his project taking previously procured bricks and turning them into a walkway with a bench for a local historical cemetery. The cemetery association had the bricks and paid for the bench. Nathan had no fundraising-all he had to do was finish his project book, get it approved, schedule resources, and finish. A simple situation-right?
Nathan got sick from what we figured out later was his gallbladder. He actually had gallbladder surgery in the middle of his Eagle Scout project. He lost interest as he was recovering and this meant mom had to step in, be mean, and remind him that he had asked me to hold him accountable. I am so proud to say he finished his project, and earned his Eagle Scout rank. Earning that rank AND recruiting another kid to the Guard allowed him to enter Basic Training, not as an E1 (Gomer Pyle private) but as an E3-two ranks above. I am beyond proud of my now Staff Sergeant at a mere twenty-three years old. Earning that Eagle rank opened many doors for him.
Fast forward 3 years to Cameron’s Eagle Scout project. Again, we sat down and I asked his permission to hold him accountable-get your Eagle project done! Finish your project book, get it approved, schedule resources, stand before the Eagle Board, and finish. Again, I asked for Cam’s permission to hold him accountable to finish this project. And again, he agreed-not realizing how hard it was going to get.
Cam built a storage closet for his church, which paid for everything. All this kid had to do was finish his project book, get it approved, schedule resources, and finish. But of course he had a girlfriend. And friends. And things to do. It was all so much more important and he’d do it later. But I persisted, much to his dismay. We had many arguments, but they all ended with me saying, “You asked me to hold you accountable. So I am. Do you want me to stop?” Always the “No, Mom”. Every time the “No Mom.”
I am so over the moon proud of these boys and their accomplishments. Nope-they’re not National Merit Scholars, and they weren’t awarded thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships. They are just two young men, working hard on earning college degrees and being independent. I think that my foot in their hindquarters, reminding them to keep their eyes on the prize, helped them to trade out short term happiness for long term achievements.
Isn’t that a lesson in the Bible? Short term gains are nothing compared to the prize that’s awaiting us with Christ? Isn’t that what we need to teach our kids?
Please comment and let me know your thoughts on this post-let me know what you think.