As I look at these great men from history, huddled close together around this fire, I see each one adding a new log of truth and knowledge to the fire of Scouting. In the center is Lord Baden-Powell, the founder and father of Scouting, who lit and nurtured the first small flames of this movement. The other men have each contributed their log and are now watching as Thomas S. Monson adds his. I can imagine countless others who have followed in their footsteps, learning from these leaders’ examples, and from one another, how best to use the methods of Scouting to greatly impact the lives of their young Scouts. I can see how hundreds of years of Scouting experience, from the founders of Scouting down to our modern-day leaders, have combined for the betterment of our youth today, who will become the leaders of the next generation.
How will you contribute your log to the fire?
I think of my great-grandfather, William Hinton. He was a boy’s man if ever there was one. He played games that taught lessons and was not afraid to preach a sermon when needed. He contributed of his time, his talents, and even his money, to bettering the youth he came in contact with. He was a farmer by trade, but his real love was making sure the water in the canal made it to the farms. He became the “ditch master” in Hurricane, Utah, and was assigned to ride his horse down the canal bank from top to bottom, over 22 miles, every single day. As he did so, he was watching for things that were out of the ordinary, signs of weakness or disrepair that could become a problem in the future.
He liked to compare the canal to young men. He believed that just as you need to watch for signs of danger in the canal, you must also watch out for and care for our youth. If you can catch a small hole in the canal in time, then you can repair it quickly. But if you wait until the ditch water is raging through the hole, it becomes almost unstoppable.
It is easier to build a boy than to mend a man.
I am grateful for the leaders in my life who watched out for me and chose to build me as a boy. There were countless people who went before, adding their log to the “sacred fire” of Scouting, so that it would be alive and burning strong when I needed it so much in my life.
Can you imagine yourself standing near the circle of firelight with those great men? Although not pictured, I believe that my great-grandfather was absolutely a builder of this sacred fire! Whether you are a den leader, a scoutmaster, a merit badge adviser, or a committee member, parent, donor, alumnus, and well wisher to the Scouting movement, you too can add your log to the fire.
We can all make a difference in the life of a boy!
For more information about how you can obtain your own copy of this painting, click HERE.
Author: Clint Lawton | Director of Field Service, Utah National Parks Council, BSA