Growing up in the 1970s, I thought it was very cool that Gerald Ford was our first Eagle Scout president. And as I grew older, I became increasingly impressed with how he conducted himself in office, bringing Scouting values to a place where they’d been largely missing during the scandal-ridden Nixon administration.
But that’s not Gerald Ford’s picture that appears at the top of this post, because Gerald Ford is ancient history to today’s Scouts–and even to their parents. Consider the case of an 11-year-old Scout today who was born when his mom was 29. That puts Mom’s birth year at around 1977–the same year Ford left office.
Yet all too often, we hold up men like Gerald Ford as role models in front of our Scouts. It’s not that they aren’t worthy of attention; it’s just that all around us are former Scouts whose stories are a whole lot fresher and more relevant to today’s Scouts.
I’m writing this post on Patriots Day 2017, four years after the Marathon Bombings shook Boston to the core. Earlier this spring, Eagles’ Call ran my profile of an Eagle Scout and FBI special agent who played a key role in tracking down one of the terrorists. (That’s his picture at the top of this post, by the way.) I encourage you to read the story and share the highlights as part of an upcoming Scoutmaster’s Minute.
But I also encourage you to seek out other fresh, relevant stories to share with your Scouts. The Bryan on Scouting blog does a great job of providing examples. There’s Josh Hart, for example, who has been a key player on the Villanova basketball team. And Evan Roe, who appears on TV’s Madame Secretary. To find more stories, consider subscribing to Eagles’ Call, which you can now do even if you’re not an Eagle Scout.
As for Ford, may he rest in peace–something I trust he’s been doing since he died in 2006, about the time today’s youngest Scouts were being born.