Showing posts with label Scouting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scouting. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Christmas Miracles

December 13, 2013

Miracles happen.  I believe they do.  Sarah Ban Breathnach, one of the sages of our time, suggests in her book Simple Abundance, that you ask for a miracle each day.  I do.  How we judge those miracles, if we even recognize them, makes all the difference in the world.  I believe it was divine intervention, or a miracle, when I ran into a an old college pal who is part of an amazing Boy Scout troop here in our area.  That troop turned out to be the right mix of boys and leaders who were a perfect fit for the Sun and my husband as he is one of the leaders now as well.

(This is the part when it becomes all about me.)  When I found out that the leaders paid for a large portion of the trip fees and supported camp fees for families who could not otherwise afford it, my fundraising instincts kicked in and I searched for the perfect means of bringing in much-needed dollars to the troop.  We (meaning me) decided upon the  Sherwood Farms Wreath  Fundraiser.  When deciding on a fundraiser, I have some personal criteria it must meet.  It must be:  consumable, environmentally friendly, food-free and a value for the patron.  This met it all.  We set the goal for the troop – $2,000 (or, enough money to purchase 10 new REI two-person tents.)  Despite my do-it-myself nature, I stepped out of the picture at this point and allowed the troop take over.  Guess what?  They met their goal and purchased the tents with the profit from the first fundraiser they have undertaken in over 20 years.  (Did I mention this troop is 75 years old?)

You are wondering where the miracle come in, right?   Of course, I think there are many miracles in this story.  The first is connecting my family to this group.  The second is the community support of the wreaths to purchase the tents needed for this troop (a very active group of boys and men!)  Now, here is the third.

During the wreath sales the troop was asked to work with a profoundly disabled youth, to bring him into the troop and treat him like any other boy.  They did.  I won’t go into details about this child, but I will say that being physically present is his only participation at this point.  No one batted an eye at the presence of this child.  He was welcomed as every child is by each of the boys and leaders.   And, finally, due to the presence of the troop and its wreath sales (which by the way, attracted several new Boy Scouts to the troop) another group took notice of this troop and awarded them a large donation which will serve as the seed money to pay the way for trips and camps for the boys whose families cannot afford to pay.

There is good in the world.  Miracles happen each and every day.  The media would have us believe in hatred, war and violence – and yes, those things exist.   But what also exists is generosity and love and…..miracles.  How have you made a difference in the lives of others this year and are you able to make a difference, even in some small way, each and every day?

On Raising A Patriot

So, it seems I’m raising a patriot.  I’m a little a surprised, I don’t mind telling you, though honestly, it should not be a surprise.  As we grow older we often  revert to our roots and find comfort in the things that we were surrounded by in our youth – even if we rebelled against it.  For those who have known me for a while, you know that the dining room of my childhood home was filled with framed images of Ronald Reagan and a few of George H. Bush.  Despite my obvious liberal leanings in the eyes of my parents, I attended Young Republican rallies and was even selected to go with my hometown’s Republican leaders to attend a rally for Bush in the late 80′s in West Tennessee. As I matured and became even more liberal, the conservative ideals I had been exposed to seemed foreign and unfair in my youthful eyes.   Patriotism seemed like an old-fashioned idea to which my father and his generation clung to while the rest of the world moved on.   I believed that we should be embracing the larger ideas of tolerance and diversity which seemed to not leave room at the table for patriotism.

Now I am firmly planted in my youthful 40′s (the new 30′s, right?) and have taken on the sometimes daunting task of raising two children.  It seems I am constantly thinking of what I want to pass on to them.  What will impact their lives and make them happy and successful adults?  What are the values I (we) want instilled in them that will ground them as they grow older and seek to navigate this ever-changing world? Tolerance?  Yes.  Diversity?  Yes.  A strong faith in something larger them themselves (get ready for it,  G-O-D)?  Yes.  Patriotism?  Patriotism?  Yes.  I admit it took me a while to get back to this place.  It took years of being a news junky and being overly frustrated with my own government, years of world travel and seeing what my life could look like if I were not in the greatest nation on Earth, years of seeing oppression and violence including the recent kidnapping by extremists in Nigeria for be me to come full circle to patriotism.

fabric-flag2 It is true.  We have our faults.  We interfere in disputes that would be better left alone.  We have injustices of our own in the US and frequently falter and fall.  We are two-faced and lie and remove leaders of other countries that no longer serve us in favor of those that serve us for the moment.  We favor big corporations at the expense of the people and the environment.  We preach intolerance of lifestyle choice and still struggle with hate and racism.  These are our faults and we have many more.  And, unfortunately, those faults sell.
But, we are so much more.  We are much more tolerant than not.  We lend hands in crisis. We live in a nation where we can affect change and see it in the states that have adopted policies and laws of tolerance and love.  We feed the hungry and clean the rivers.  We flock to the aid of helpless children.  We support those with disabilities.  Though often misguided, we aid those outside of our borders who have no control over what happens to them. Unfortunately, these stories do not sell as well, so we are left to stew over our faults and the things that make us seem less than we are and negatively impact our patriotism, our love of our country.

DDayToday, the Sun was able to attend a ceremony at a local senior center recognizing those who fought in the Invasion of Normandy, also known as D-Day.  When I asked him if he wanted to be part of this he responded, “you bet I do.”  He did not have to think twice.  There were even three D-Day veterans in attendance who live in the home and though I am not entirely sure of their age, they must be at least 88 years old to have been part of that operation.  The men and women who fought or took care of wounded on that day in France did so because they were patriots.  They believed in something greater than themselves.  If you are unsure if patriotism still lives and has importance in our lives, look across the pond to today’s celebrations in France of their liberation from German occupation.

I am choked up thinking about my son and his patriotism which sits firmly alongside his own liberal tendencies.  You see, I believe there is room at the table for liberalism and patriotism.  One does not exclude the other.

 “I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.” -Khalil Gibran

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Tenderfoot and Camp

This week Noah was given his first rank advancement in the Boy Scouts.  I was a proud Mama when Noah "pinned" me during the ceremony.  This ceremony was perfectly timed as he left today for his first residential camp experience.  Nathan and Noah just drove away to meet the rest of the troop to caravan to Boxwell.  Nathan, Noah, several adult leaders and about 15 other boys will join boys from around the country for a week of scout activities.  I guess technically this is not his first time camping away from home.  He has camped several times with his class at Linden and he and Nathan have gone on several weekend camping trips with the scouts.  But, this is the first time he is going for a week.  And, Nathan will only be with him one night.  Of course, he is so confident and easy going that it is no big deal for him.  For me, though, it is different.  As I think about having a rising 6th grader leaving for camp I am both proud and wistful at the same time. 

Being down one kid gives me the week to focus on my girl and she has lots planned including beauty day (think cucumbers on the eyes), gardening and more.  Now, if only the rain would end.....