Son, you outgrew my lap, but never my heart. – Author Unknown
Over the weekend we attended an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for one of the Boy Scouts in my sons’ troop. I’ve attended a number of these Court of Honors over the years; there hasn’t been one that has failed to bring a tear to my eye.
This Eagle Scout Court of Honor was for my older son’s friend; they had been in Cub Scouts and then Boy Scouts together for ten years. While both of my sons were asked to serve as Color Guard for the ceremony, my older son was asked to speak on behalf of his friend.
Like many teenaged boys, my older son is a procrastinator. He knew he had to write up something to say about his friend but since it was Spring Break, he spent each day sleeping late and gaming – like it was his job.
The procrastination drove me crazy, which then pushed me to the point of nagging. I hate to nag.
Baseball, gaming, and a night out with friends were his priority the week before the Court of Honor.
“Gentle reminders. Just check in and give him a gentle reminder” I told myself each day, knowing he hadn’t
On Friday morning, I couldn’t resist. “Did you write your speech?” I asked.
“Not yet” he replied.
I mentally rolled my eyes as I walked away from his bedroom My older son is a Life Scout; he makes his own bed, does his own laundry, and has made countless presentations at school. I was concerned about the procrastination and couldn’t help but think of his Eagle project and the unfinished work he had to do before moving to the “Eagle’s Nest” and becoming an Eagle Scout.
I sighed. He is responsible. He would figure it out. It wasn’t my job. I let it go.
On the afternoon of the Court of Honor, my son came into my office and asked for a sheet protector: he had printed out his speech and wanted to make sure it wouldn’t get wrinkled or torn. He was pleased with how it turned out.
At the Court of Honor, when my son was called to speak, he confidently strode up to the podium, looked out at the audience and began. He shared the history of his and his friend’s scouting experience. He shared his admiration for his friend: “always having a supply of Band-Aids, duct tape and paracord stashed neatly in his pack”, a scout who was always prepared.
He also shared a funny story of how they solved a problem of a leaky tent (using neckerchiefs and socks) and their success of saying “mostly dry” despite the tent smelly like dirty, wet socks.
I loved hearing the stories of their adventures, they brought laughter and smiles from everyone in the audience.
My son grew serious. “Kai, I am glad we have had so many bonding experiences in scouting through the fun of white water rafting, wake-boarding , shotgun shooting and backpacking, but I think our most memorable times together are when plans didn’t go our way and with that, I’d like to say “Thank you” and I look forward to joining you in the Eagle’s Nest soon.”
Tears came to my eyes as he spoke, finished and left the podium. This young man, this procrastinator, my very own son, hadn’t read from any notes, he had spoken from his heart.
As I looked at his friend, the Eagle Scout, my heart burst with joy for his success. Then I looked over at my son, the Life, soon-to-be Eagle Scout. My heart burst with pride.