Now, to insure that I properly articulate what sets these young men apart from their contemporaries, on occasion, I will solicit the help of the parental units. Asking them to describe their soon to be Eagle Scout in one word.
Jack’s dad offered up “adventurous”. Someone willing to take risks, try out new methods or experiences.
Jacks’s mom chose “kind. “
But after considering the proximity of tomorrow to this celebration, I allowed mom’s contribution to include “ he is also a selfless person and very much a team player.”
To be “kind” is to possess a good or benevolent nature. A disposition proceeding from benevolence and indulgence. Considerate. Helpful. Humane
Both adventurous and kind are honorable and much treasured traits.
Two words that at first glance, may seem unrelated.
Yet in many respects, are interconnected. Even collaborative.
If memory serves, a few Sundays ago a portion of the homily was devoted to a derivative of Mrs. Barron’s word.
A way of patterning your life by considering the state of others first.
Then tailoring your approach to them by putting their needs first and foremost in your heart, mind and soul.
To fashion a path forward, connecting to them on a deeper level.
Not just being kind. But actively engaging in kindness.
An ongoing, collaborative and giving venture.
Where you commit your thoughts, words and deeds entirely to serving that purpose. With intention. Living by example.
A life’s endeavor built on the denial of self, where one freely gives to others. Sharing with great love. With no expectation of return or strings attached.
Now for sure, this approach to life involves great risk. A willingness to try new methods. Requiring tremendous faith as you endure new experiences. All guided by an innate belief that everything is going to work out just fine.
Ultimately, a venture in kindness that is by its very nature, adventurous.
Some time ago, Jack decided his project would be to expand the Eagle Challenge Course at Homestead High School; the legacy of another Eagle – David Pfaff.
Maybe Jack thought that by creating, designing and building three new challenge stations, he might give others a way to take part in his ongoing, collaborative, life venture. A chance to find something in themselves. An opportunity to share that with others. And connect to all at a deeper level.
He met with David during the planning stages of his project. Now aside from the fact that he laid the foundation for their collaborative effort, David is one of the best resources around for some lasting life lessons on commitment, leadership and giving. Just like Jack, I look up to him for that kind of inspiration as well.
As it was, the Eagle Challenge Course provided opportunities to teach team building exercises and leadership skills through numerous physical tests.
Jack’s new expansion not only benefits the students and teachers of Homestead, but will begin to ripple outward. Reaching local Boy Scout Troops, the families of M-T and the surrounding communities as well.
Upon getting approval for his project plan, Jack went to work recruiting thirty adults and fellow scouts. Once his team was assembled, under Jack’s able leadership they were able to clear and landscape the wooded area, build and then install three new stations of his design.
All told his entire project took 220 man hours to complete.
Sometime during this process, it may have all seemed overwhelming. Moments that called for kindness. Faith in leadership, the mission and in one another. But the team endured. Gave it up for one another and everything worked out just fine.
Adventurous and kind.
Two words about Jack that are as interconnected as they are collaborative.
Words that will continue to lead him into all sorts of uncharted territory.
Towards his life’s true endeavor. One involving risk. New methods and experiences. Beyond the comfort of the known. All built on the denial of self. And guided by the will of a true team player.
Perhaps now you might look at his addition to the challenge course with a new set of eyes. Maybe this Eagle project represents Jack’s way of engaging in an enduring act of kindness.
Tailoring a lasting approach to the welfare of others. Putting their needs first and foremost in his heart, mind and soul.
Fashioning an enduring path forward. Connecting to all on a deeper level. For now and into perpetuity.
All part of Jack’s ongoing, collaborative and giving team adventure.