Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Different Bird of Prey

I got word in early January of this year that my cousin’s son, Nate, was to become an Eagle Scout.

I wrote and congratulated him. To be a Boy Scout is rare. There are less than 3 million Boy Scouts in the United States out of potential of 20 plus million. Out those 3 million Boy Scouts, only 2% or 60,000 will reach the rank of Eagle Scout.

Only 2 million young men have become Eagle Scouts since its beginning in 1911.

Why don’t more Boy Scouts become Eagle Scouts? I think there are several reasons. The success and growth of Scouting and becoming an Eagle Scout is due to inspiring leaders who are interested in youth. It takes a major commitment to be an effective Scout leader. There maybe a shortage of such leaders.

It also takes interested and supportive parents. With two parents working in many households or single heads of households, this can be a challenge.

Second, Scouting is about the outdoors. Let’s face it, many of us spend over 90% of our time in a “built” environment. The outdoors is an uncomfortable place to many.

Third, today’s youth have so many activities to choose from including sports, music, clubs and other youth programs. Scouting competes with many other possibilities.

Fourth, being a Boy Scout let alone an Eagle Scout may be seen as “uncool.” President Gerald Ford, our 38th President and an Eagle Scout, once was publicly criticized for being “too much of a Boy Scout.” President Ford went back and reviewed the Scout Oath and Scout Law. He said, “ If these are not the goals of the people of the United States want their president to live up to, then I must draw this conclusion: Either you have the wrong man or I have the wrong country, and I don’t believe either is so.”

Fifth, to become an Eagle Scout requires a tremendous amount of perseverance and self-discipline. An Eagle Scout has 5.5 years to work through five ranks, earn 21 merit badges, serve as a leader and complete a service project. As many Scouts approach the age of 16, driving and dating become a distraction to completing the Eagle Award.

I wrote Nate, I had some bad news for him...becoming an Eagle Scout is not the end, but the beginning. I told him he’d chosen to live the Scout Oath, Scout Law and Scout Motto and be a role model to others. It is an awesome responsibility. I suggested he not take it lightly. The world needs leaders and his work in becoming an Eagle Scout is a true foundation in his leadership formation.

Eagle Scouts do not achieve this award by themselves. I asked Nate to make sure he sat down with his mother and father look them in the eye and say "THANK YOU" for their support for being there for him, for believing in him, for helping him achieve this award. Most of all, thank them for being Eagle Scout parents and loving him to be an Eagle. Nate did it, but they were in the background! A second round of thank you’s are in order to his Scoutmaster and those who helped him with merit badges, those he has lead and those who helped him with his service project.

Scouting runs deep in our family. Nate’s Great Grandfather Privette and Grandfather Privette were professional Scouters. I came into the possession of a small hand carved wooden statue of a Scout that belonged to my Grandfather, Nate’s Great Grandfather. I am not sure if my Grandfather carved it or if it a friend of his carved it. It has been sitting on my bookshelf near my reading chair. I have looked at it many times and imagined all kinds of things. I am passing it onto Nate.

The rest of my thoughts are in a short YouTube clip I created for Nate. See

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ode to Max

We didn’t think we were “dog” people. Our son requested, perhaps demanded a dog when we moved from Kettering, OH to Lebanon, OH back in 2002. My wife set some parameters - small dog, house broken, got along with children and people. So the hunt began. There were regular trips to the Humane Society. Then one day, a friend called and said, “Your dog is here at the Humane Society in Dayton! Come get him now!”

His name was Max. Nobel. Sharp. Classy. Strong. Polite. He was about 1.5 years old. We are not really sure why someone gave him up. He was intelligent. He was house broken. We became “dog” people. We became “Max” people. We fell in love, head over heals with a 26 pound salt and pepper miniature Schnauzer named Max!

He did bark when people came to our house. I think it was Max’s way of earning his keep, protecting us! Once we assured him that it was okay, he settled down. Friends wanted to take him home. He was an incredible addition to the Carr home. He brought a subtle peace and tranquility to our home.

No matter what kind of day you had when you got home Max was the welcoming committee to let you know you were loved, valued and needed. Max made you feel like you were okay when the rest of the world may have thought otherwise.

Max made me appreciate the simple things in life. A walk, which he got twice a day, was wonderful! The world was full of curiosity and wonder to him. He snapped to attention when a squirrel was nearby. He was friendly to most other dogs including dogs two, three and four times his size! In fact, I don’t think he knew fear, although he did not like lightning.

Every morning Max and I would get up around 5 AM. I’d make coffee. I’d read my devotion, do meditation and then we’d go for a walk. Breakfast, the same old dry Iams with a fish oil capsule, brought delight! His stub of a tail twitched! I’d ask Max... “Do you want the Belgium waffle stuffed with fruit and cream cheese or the Western omelet with double meat"...he didn’t care...just give me my scoop of Iams! Fresh water too!

He could stare you down. Those small intense brown almond eyes were laser sharp, especially when you were eating. He did not beg. But he watched every move you made when you had food. Ant’s starved around our house, because the littlest crump that fell to the floor was consumed by Max!

Max was everyone’s dog in the family. He’d roughhouse with Bretton. He’d cuddle with Terri. He’d sleep with Erin. He’d be at my feet when I read. We were blessed to have this incredible dog in our lives for nearly 10 years. I am going to miss him. We are going to miss him. He passed away too soon.