One of the lessons taught at Wood Badge is about Leaving a Legacy. It uses the movie Mr. Holland's Opus to make the point. In that movie, Mr. Holland, the high school music teacher is honored at his retirement with a surprise concert featuring music he wrote, performed by many of his former students. One of those students makes the comment that they were his masterpiece; that his real legacy was in the lives of the people he touched.
I've been thinking about that this morning and what my legacy will be.
When I went to Wood Badge, the vision that motivated me, and the ticket I worked to help me realize that vision, was aimed at having a real, functioning, thriving Venturing crew that would persist after I had gone.
I didn't feel like I got there by the time I was called to something else. I know I made progress, but I also know there are things I could have done better. I frequently think of things that I wish I had done. At the same time, however, I honestly felt like I was doing everything I could at the time.
At church yesterday I heard something that made me feel like everything I have worked for has already been erased.
The young men's president announced (in a combined Aaronic priesthood meeting) that they were going to take all the young men on an overnight activity to the bishop's cabin. It sounds like a great activity. And I am thrilled that they will be going out and doing something.
I just have a couple problems with it. First, it seems to have been planned entirely by the adults, with no youth involvement. When it was announced by the adults yesterday, it was the first time the youth had heard about it. I suspect that the adults will do everything at the activity, too. I guarantee that the bishop isn't going to wait around for the youth to start cooking dinner. He's the kind of person who won't sit by when there's work to be done. What that means, though, is that the youth will have absolutely no responsibility here. All that will be expected of them is to show up and play.
The second problem I have is that this "camp" is replacing the district sponsored winter camp. They will be going to the cabin just one week after the camp. I know the YM president had the information about winter camp. I was there when he got it. But he didn't even give the youth the option to go to the winter camp. He didn't even mention it. In fact, when he announced the cabin trip he made the comment that "it's better than camping in the snow."
Now, I wouldn't have a problem taking the Venturers to the cabin at the same time the Scouts were going to the winter camp, but to replace the scout's camp with this tells me that Scouting simply isn't important to the adult leaders. There are other things that tell me that, as well. And I'm sure the youth see it, too.
In this one two-minute experience (combined with the knowledge of other things) I could see, in my mind's eye, a giant eraser wiping out everything I worked for for four years. As if nothing I have done matters in the least. It was devastating.
Now, maybe I'm being a little dramatic. Maybe it won't be as bad as I imagine. I'm sure there is a plan behind this trip that I don't know about. Maybe it's exactly what the boys need. But I still worry.
Of course, one thing about Leaving a Legacy is that our real legacy isn't always what we had imagined in the beginning. Right now, there are two young men serving the Lord as missionaries in Brazil. I am clinging to the hope that something I did will live on in them and in their service. I cling to the hope that for them, at least, my efforts were not wasted.