Happy International Coffee Day! Coffee, the elixir that gets a lot of the world moving each day and produce results.

“Just because we can’t do everything doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something.” – Bill Clinton, President

Scout Law

Scout Law

When my oldest child was 7, I was asked to become the Scouting Coordinator for our church. The scouting coordinator is now called the Organization Representative and is the one who is responsible for seeing that the organization – in this case my church – fulfilled its obligations to the Boy Scouts of America of having a fully staffed program. Now I had been a Cub Scout, making it to the rank of Lion – a rank that doesn’t’ exist anymore – before dropping out.

I had a lot of catching up to do on the Scouting program, so I went to the Scout store and bought all the books for Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting. Unfortunately, shortly after I brought them home, they all disappeared. A few weeks later we discovered them under the pillow of my oldest who was literally reading them to pieces. He became so excited that at 3:00 am on his eighth birthday, dressed in his new scout uniform, he woke his mother up asking to go see the Den Mother and pass off his Bobcat requirements NOW. He was sent back to bed but later that morning he accomplished his goal.

He and his brother loved Scouting and eventually earned the Eagle rank – let me express fatherly pride here. But scouting also created some discord in our family, because their sister, sandwiched between them, was jealous even though she was in Girl Scouts. Cub Scouts (and later Boy Scouts) got to do lots more interesting things than Girl Scouts! She wanted to do the same things her brothers got to do. Alas, there was no compromise that would allow her, a girl, to do what the boys got to do. (Note: Those activities that were performed in a family were ones that she participated in – often doing better than her brothers.)

Now, if you are expecting a rant against the policies of excluding girls from Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts – sorry – it’s not going to happen. Because while there were no activities in either program that my daughters couldn’t do, the programs were for boys and I wasn’t going to fight a hopeless battle or deny my sons the opportunities presented by Scouting or attempt the equally hopeless battle of trying to change Girl Scouts to be more like Cub Scouts. Instead, I used the Scouting program because of the results I wanted –  to help my sons learn skills, gain confidence and become men that would live the Scout Law, Promise and Motto. The results speak for themselves – my sons are good men today because of the experience they had in Scouting.

As for my daughter, she’s the one who has jumped out of a perfectly good functioning airplane (with a parachute), participated in science camps, interned at a particle accelerator, studied in Europe, and today is a very accomplished wife, mother of three great grandsons, business woman, and community volunteer who inspires young women in her church.

However, I often hear people insisting that a program must be perfect or they won’t participate in it. Well, I have news for them – nothing is perfect in this life – nothing. We are all imperfect beings usually trying our best to do what is right. And we can do a lot that is right and good, even great – if we are willing to be merciful enough to accept best efforts that are less than perfect.

Consider where we would be if the Wright brothers decided that their experiments in flight weren’t worthwhile because they couldn’t fly more than a hundred yards the first time?

Progress usually comes by small steps with the possibilities shrouded in mists of the unknown. In the month of October, I’ll be examining several events that were small but significant achievements in history to discuss how those small steps lead to the world of possibilities that we have today.

A physicist by trade, author by choice, a born teacher, a retired veteran, and an adamant problem solver, Frank has helped the White House, federal agencies, military offices, historical museums, manufacturers, and over 250 technology startups get stuff done, communicate effectively, and find practical solutions that work for them. In his spare time, he makes sawdust and watches Godzilla movies.