Okay, I admit it: the title of this article is a little bit misleading. This isn’t actually my last article. The title isn’t a description of the article. It’s a challenge. Here is the premise that I have been meditating on a lot lately: Time flies by so swiftly. When we invest
time in others, do we really make that time count?
In this article, I want to share some of my reflections on this, a few ways I’ve been improving in time management, and give you an update from my personal life which explains why this has been such an important topic to me.
The most important question in Scouting
Every week when I was a Senior Patrol Leader, I approached my Scout Troop with one central question in mind. I was passionate about making a difference in my Troop, but I knew how hard it was to effect positive internal change in such a small amount of time. Outside of camping trips, I knew I only had two hours a week during the Troop meetings, and I was determined to do everything in my power to make those two hours count. I would ask myself: “If this was to be my last meeting as a SPL in my Troop, would I have made a real difference for good?”
When I started the Scouting Rediscovered website, my goal was never to just simply write about interesting informative topics. I wanted to write what I believed was truly important for someone to hear. When writing, I try to ask myself: “If this was my last article, would it really count? Would it make a difference in somebody’s life?”
That is a high bar to meet, but I’d rather aim for it and miss it every time then go after a lower one.
Where change starts
As members of the Scouting brotherhood, we all have so many areas in which we differ. But I believe there is one thing that true Scouts all hold in common. We passionately want to make a difference for good. We want to shape the world around us into something
just a little bit more beautiful.
If I’ve learned anything during this quest, it’s that the change must start in myself. I must be strong in order to give strength. I must be truly wise in order to give wisdom to others. And there you have the two goals of Scouting: self-improvement and service.
Unfortunately, this isn’t as simple as it sounds. I have been reminded of this so often recently. There’s this pattern I follow which I think is probably rather common to most of us. In some way (whether in a moment of inspiration or through a gradual change of life’s seasons) we become hyper-aware of what we truly care about. This fills us with a sense of dedication to make many changes (big or small) in order to do better at whatever it is we are convicted about. We proceed along this refreshed path with more or less success until gradually that sensitivity to our calling grows more dull. It fades into the back of our mind, and we might even forget entirely until the next season of inspiration comes. Then we start the cycle all over again.
Wherever you are along this cycle, I want this article to speak to you. Coming from one who shares with you this passion for self-improvement and service, let me encourage you. Resist the up and down cycle. Surround yourself with reminders and with people who will not let you forget this passion. Set up systems that assist you in self-discipline. Brainstorm goals and plans and milestones to shoot for along this trajectory. Whatever it takes, make a difference.
My life has changed dramatically
All of these lessons have come home to me recently in a very personal way. Back in July I got married, and my life became a whole lot busier. My wife and I moved all of our belongings halfway across the United States and started new jobs. It was a lot of change in a short period of time, and my schedule is now busier than it ever has been. I don’t have nearly as much time to waste as I used to. Again and again I find myself counting every minute to see if it was wisely spent. It is sobering.
No, this is far from my last article if I have a say in the matter. I have so much more I can’t wait to share with you all and look forward to having you join me in my rediscovery of traditional Scouting and what that means for our lives today. Thank you all for your patience with me so far, I hope you will all bear with me as I get my my writing “sea legs” back.
Ask yourself the question
If this was my last article, would it make a difference? If this next Troop meeting was your last one, would it make a difference?
I strongly ask you all to consider the hours you spend investing in others. Maybe you’re active right now as a volunteer in Scouting. Maybe you’re raising boys of your own
. Maybe you’re just following this whole Scouting thing from a distance. Whatever the case may be, make the time that you spend count. We don’t know how much time may be left for each of us. Let’s give it all to those we care about.
Thank you for reading this. I hope you were encouraged. I look forward to sharing all the cool stuff I’ve been discovering or rediscovering about all things Scouting. Feel free to leave a comment in the box below with a word of encouragement for all of the other Scouts and Scouters who are or will be reading this.