Expanding upon step two, connect them to Heaven, the instructor at this last training taught, “Everyone needs a friend to connect them to Heaven.” He explained that service doesn’t always have to be defined as volunteering in a community project or making a homemade treat for someone. Sometimes, truly serving is simply setting aside time to listen to a youth that needs someone to talk to. Being their friend, giving them advice, listening to their troubles or accomplishments and letting them know that they are loved by their leaders and their Heavenly Father connects them to Heaven. They shouldn’t have to find the way on their own. In other words, time is service.
After returning home from the training, I watched an interview with Ambassador John Huntsman Jr., also a Distinguished Eagle. In the discussion, the reporter asked, baffled, why Huntsman chose to serve so much despite having such a demanding career. His reply, “Service is the price you pay for citizenship in the greatest country in the world.”
His words really resonated with me as an American and I thought about them quite a bit throughout the weekend. We truly do live in a great country, and serving in our capacities within our communities shows our gratitude for the freedoms and rights that other countries don’t get to enjoy. As stated by Huntsman— a man who has served in so many ways throughout his professional years in politics— learning how to serve is learning how to become a great citizen.
While service means something different to everyone and can be seen in many shapes and forms, I wanted to look up the definition. Service is defined as “the action of helping or doing work for someone.” What stuck out to me, though, is that nowhere in its meaning does it define the amount of time required in order to qualify as being an act of service.
To me, for example, serving others is asking how people are doing or surprising someone with dessert (I like to try new recipes on people). At Little Philmont, leaders clearly stated that serving their young boys means connecting the youth with heaven. Leaders, therefore, need to know that serving doesn’t always mean taking their Scouts on a campout. Serving is attending to needs and can be the five minutes you spare in your busy schedule to listen to a youth. The time you give will lead them to Heaven and is also a way you can give back to your community and be an example of a great citizen.
In a talk entitled “Help Them on Their Way Home”, President Henry B. Eyring stated, “Of all the help we can give these young people, the greatest will be to let them feel our confidence that they are on the path home to God and that they can make it. And we do that best by going with them. When they share with us what they are doing and feeling, we must ourselves have qualified for the spirit.”
Leaders have the opportunity to be great examples for their youth by “being with them” as they serve their youth within the Boy Scouts program and other church callings. These strong examples is exactly what the youth needs to see in order to stay on the path and become strong leaders themselves.
Author: Kelly Frey | Program Assistant, Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America