The Scoutmaster Minute theme for March is Bravery. Every one of you can probably think of an act of bravery, like standing up to a bully. Bravery comes in many guises; it’s not always large in scope--running into a burning building. It can be as small as holding someone’s hand. There are nuances to bravery. One of my favorite novels, To Kill A Mockingbird, is a study of what it means to be brave. I won’t spoil the story for those who haven’t read it (or the movie for those who haven’t seen it).
Mockingbird presents different characters with a choice between doing what’s right, when doing what’s right means criticism, ridicule, threats and danger; and doing what’s easy. Not every character makes the same choice—that’s the story. What would you do? What if the easy path isn’t actually doing wrong, it’s just not doing right? What does bravery have to do with right and wrong? It takes tremendous courage to go against the tide of what everyone else is doing, even when it’s wrong. One of my favorite authors, Edmund Burke, said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
History shows us people who did nothing: bystanders, people following orders, people who don’t believe they have the authority to act. History also offers examples of people who chose to do something, even though that was more difficult, and in some cases, more dangerous. I hope this is a choice none of you will ever have to make. But if you are confronted with a tough moral choice, one that requires you be brave and face down others who would do nothing, I know you’ve got the stuff. Scouting equips youth with the values, leadership skills and confidence to make tough choices. Because you choose to be a scout, I know you would choose to do something.