Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: A Scoutmaster Saves the Day
A Scoutmaster Saves the Day
Wed, 28 Apr 1999 14:29:01 EDT
This was sent to me by my mother and I wanted to share it with all of you.
A Scoutmaster Saves the Day
For weeks the troop has been engaged in expectant preparation for
its Parents' Night program. Everything was in order. The walls were filled
with displays, the scouts with enthusiasm and the tables with good things to
The toastmaster was well under way. The crowd sang with that
respectably restrained enthusiasm that typified a Parents' Night program.
Then Jimmie Davis arose to give his oration. This was the moment
he had looked forward to for many weeks. As he arose, he caught a glimpse of
his mother's beaming face and his father's stolid assured countenance. He
started with a great burst of enthusiasm. He waxed more eloquent, conscious
that his listeners were paying a high tribute to him by their careful
Then something happened. The world seemed to swim before him. He
slowed down - faltered - stopped. His face flushed, his hands sought each
other frantically and in desperation he looked helplessly toward his
And ever prepared, having heard that boyish masterpiece rehearsed
again and again, the boy's leader supplied the missing words and the lad went
on. But somehow it was different now. The masterpiece had been marred.
Jimmie paused again - and the scoutmaster prompted him again. For
the remaining two minutes, the oration seemed more the scoutmaster's than the
But Jimmie finished it. In the heart of the lad who sat down,
knowing that he had failed, there was a heavy load. Chagrin was plainly
written on the face of the boy's mother, and a twitch of the father's face
indicated a pained consciousness of shame.
The audience applauded in a perfunctory way, sorry for and
pitying the boy who they thought had failed.
But the scoutmaster was on his feet. His quiet eyes twinkled. All
listened tensely, for he did not talk loudly. What was he saying?
"I am more happy than any of you can possibly understand because
of what has just happened. You have seen a boy make a glorious victory out of
what might have been a miserable failure.
"Jimmie had his chance to quit. To have quit would have been
easy. But to finish the job even in the face of 200 people required the
highest kind of bravery and courage I know.
"You may someday hear a better oratorical effect, but I am
confident that you will never see a finer demonstration of the spirit of our
troop than Jimmie has just given you - to play the game even under
The people thundered their applause now. Jimmie's mother sat
straight and proud. The old look of assurance was back on the face of the
boy's father. The entire group was enthusiastic again and Jimmie, with a lump
in his throat, said something to the friend beside him that sounded like,
"Gee, if I can be that kind of scoutmaster someday."
By Walter MacPeek
Submitted by Martin Louw
from A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul
Copyright 1995 by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen