The Court of Honors ceremony had just concluded. As people were making their way back to the fellowship hall for refreshments, a young boy who had just joined our Trail Life USA troop stopped his father and an adult leader with a question I overheard. He asked, “Why did the man handing the staff grab it back when the young men went to take it from his hand?” The Trail Life leader explained, “To receive the standard (a wooden staff representing the highest level of Adventurer) is to receive the responsibility that comes with it. He wanted to make sure the trailmen understood the importance of what they were doing”
I had other thoughts to add that I didn’t speak then. I thought that it’s easy to just reach out and take something that is free or cheap, something our present society takes for granted along with a host of other things handed to us by others. And then what happens? It gets shoved in a box or it gets shuffled to the back of the closet along with a thousand other gifts or items received in a very prosperous world. I wondered if the adult leader, when he jerked back the standard while the trailman was holding it, was testing him in that moment, “Do you really want this I’m giving you? Are you sure you’re willing to hold onto it? Life can try to take away what it stands for- Adventure, Character, Leadership (the core values of Trail Life USA). With these come great responsibility. If you want to keep it, you’ve got to hold onto it with a grip that says, ‘I really want this.’”
Gary George, our Charter Organization Representative (COR) explained to us that the trailmen were trustworthy young men we all hope will grow up, to “Walk Worthy” (the Trail Life motto) in being godly men, husbands, and fathers in a world that is increasingly dark and against the Christian values that made America a great place to live. These young trailmen held up their standards as if to say, “I accept my place in God’s kingdom and my role in His mission in the world.”
I was inspired to walk worthy, too.