Monday, May 28, 2012

A boy, doing a man's job

Once upon a time there lived a young Boy Scout named David. One day, David's father gave him a very important job. He was to travel far from home to deliver a care package to his three older brothers, who were serving in the army.

 After arriving at his destination, he found his brothers among the other troops and greeted them with joy. They were making preparations to go to battle, with the enemy camped just across the valley.

While talking with his brothers, David became aware of a commotion in the camp. One of the enemy soldiers had come out, alone, and challenged anyone who would listen to a duel. But he was no ordinary soldier. He was a giant. Standing over nine feet tall and heavily armored, he was an intimidating opponent, especially in a duel wih primitive weapons. So intimidating, in fact, that not a single person in the entire army was not afraid of him.

Except for David, that is.

Remember, David was a Scout, and as a Scout he had learned to be brave. Of course, David's courage came from something else he learned as a Scout--his trust in God.

Volunteering to go out and fight he giant (Goliath, by name), David expressed his faith by saying "the Lord will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine."

Refusing the king's armor in favor of his own tried-and-true sling, David went out to fight. Armed only with a few rocks and his faith, David beat Goliath.

David was just a boy. After seeing Goliath he could have turned around and gone home. It wasn't really his responsibility to fight, was it? Shouldn't that job have fallen to the king, or the captain of the army, or any other adult there? But David was a Boy Scout and was prepared and capable of doing a man's job.

When Robert Baden-Powell was under seige in Mafeking, he recruited a group of boys to do jobs normally reserved for men. This was one of the foundational ideas of the Scouting movement--that boys could do what many men wouldn't. Using the ideal of a "Scout" as the hook, Baden-Powell developed a system of training that would turn boys into men.

That is the very reason the LDS church supports Scouting. It helps us take boys and send them out to do the job of a man, as missionaries.