Thursday, September 1, 2011

Scoutmaster's Minute: "One"

This is a Scoutmaster’s Minute I did at last night's Court of Honor. The inspiration for it comes from a letter from Eagle Scout Mike Rowe, Mr. Dirty Jobs himself. He wrote this in response to a father’s request that he write something to inspire the father’s son to finish his Eagle rank. Mike’s reply put the responsibility squarely on the boy, where it belongs.

Following is the text of the SMM; you can view or download the PowerPoint here:
Let’s talk about one:
  • One is the loneliest number. By itself. Alone.
  • A number times one remains unchanged.
  • One is the first whole number. It’s more than nothing. One is NOT Zero.
  • One is “on” in binary (computer) code.
  • It’s said that one bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  • One is perfection in baseball. One is the pitcher, or the point guard. One is the best.
  • One (hydrogen) is the most abundant chemical in the universe. It’s the stuff stars are made of. It’s pure power. It’s critical to our survival.
  • One is unity: e pluribus unum means, out of many, one.
  • One man dreamed of changing a country;
    One man’s vision sent other men to the moon;
    One redeemed mankind
  • One percent of boys become Eagle Scouts.

Mike Rowe, from Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, said this about reaching Eagle:
"The Eagle Award is not really meant for people who need to be dragged across the finish line. It’s meant for a select few… Only one out of a hundred Scouts make Eagle… doing something extraordinary can be very lonely, and most people simply aren’t cut out for it. Being an Eagle Scout requires you to be different than most everyone around you, and being different is really, really hard. That’s why the award is called “an accomplishment.”

Personally, and for whatever it’s worth, the best decisions I’ve made in my own life, are those decisions that put me on the outside of being cool. Singing in the Opera, working in home shopping, starring in the school play when the entire football team laughed at me, and especially earning my Eagle, were all choices that required sacrifice, hard work, and delayed gratification.

I have no idea … if you have the passion to follow the road less traveled. Only you get to decide that.” (
Looking around the room, I don’t see anyone who is part of the 99; all I see is the One (look around, look boys in the eye, call them by name, make it personal).

So, Troop 406, choose to be different. Choose to be that one percent. And be one.

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