By: Jeff Katz – June, 2011
There are times as a father where your son can just plain make you proud. I look back on some of those times now, as my oldest son Harry embarks on the next part of his scouting journey which I hope and pray will one day bring him to the rank of Eagle Scout.
The first time that I experienced some pride was when my newborn son arrived. My wife and I had not planned to name our first son Harry, but my Dad passed away just five days before my little guy made his entrance. In keeping with my faith and heritage we decided to name my son in honor of the Grandfather he would never meet, and so Harrison Katz was born. Harrison has always seemed so formal though so Harry is the moniker usually hung on my oldest son.
Harry has advanced through all of the Cub Scout ranks and recently crossed over and became a Boy Scout. He has sailed his ships in rain gutter regattas, sold popcorn and candles, built and raced Pinewood Derby cars, gone camping and hiking, but it is the service projects and lessons in duty which really touch me.
One of the most important parts of becoming a Boy Scout is the education one receives on all matters patriotic. A true appreciation for the country is instilled, and the proper handling and care of, as well as reverence for, our flag is taught and continually reinforced.
As part of this past Memorial Day, Harry, along with his troop, participated in a number of events. He served as part of the Color Guard for the Memorial Day Mass at the local church which so graciously hosts his troop. My son has earned a number of Jewish scouting awards which he proudly displays on his uniform and I was especially heartened as one of the priests mentioned how touching it was that a Jewish scout was participating in the special service. Our faiths are different, but we both understand that our first duty is always to God just like the Boy Scout oath makes clear.
On Memorial Day itself, Harry and his fellow Scouts once again acted on their oath as they demonstrated their duty to their country and to others, as they formed the Color Guard for the Memorial Day service at our local cemetery. I beamed with pride as these fine young men sacrificed some of their time to pay tribute to those heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
But in between these two events, our Scouts stood outside a local supermarket and sold poppies to raise money for our town’s Veterans of Foreign Wars post. They never asked for anything other than a contribution to help our heroes who have served overseas. Imagine the shock and surprise of my son and his fellow Scouts when a woman yelled and screamed at them, babbling about “their agenda.” Well, my son is a pretty bright guy, but his agenda usually involves some extra time on the PS3 or another slice of pie. She proceeded to yell even more, but the Scouts were still courteous, kind and friendly.
I started thinking at that point about the true agenda of the Boy Scouts of America. They do have an agenda. The Boy Scout agenda involves countless Moms and Dads donating their time to help lead dens and packs and troops. The Boy Scout agenda supports the efforts of young boys to become young men by teaching them to be prepared and to do a good turn daily.
The agenda of the Boy Scouts works to remind their members to always be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. The Boy Scout agenda involves crafting leaders and visionaries.
My son and his brother Boy Scouts take their oath quite seriously. They have committed it to memory and work hard each day to live it. “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 other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” That is the agenda of each and every Boy Scout. It is why I am so proud of all of the Boy Scouts, especially mine.