Monday, December 21, 2009

A Slight Diversion-But Still in the Spirit of Excellence

Please forgive the diversion. Normally this blog is about business stuff, continuous improvement, quality management, six sigma, lean, etc... Today's post is about excellence of another kind. Yesterday my oldest son was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts. Here is the speech I made at his ceremony. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I remember taking him to the sign up meeting for Cub Scouts, trying to read his face for any signs of excitement, interest, distaste. I don’t really remember what I got, but we decided to plow ahead and go into Cub Scouts. I was in Cub Scouts, and so I wanted my son(s) to be in Cub Scouts because I had some fond memories and I thought that what scouts taught was worth learning, and that it was fun. I remember his first Pinewood Derby car project. I remember feeling like I lost five years off my life while trying to NOT help him too much. He didn't grasp the concept of applying pressure to the saw to help it cut faster. He believed that gravity would do the job for him. Eventually it did. Fast forward a few years and its time to pick a troop. He chose Troop 111, not because he knew anyone here, not because any of his fellow den mates decided to come here (they didn’t), but for what in our estimation, was the most right reason of all, because he liked this troop over any of the other troops he visited. We settled into the period where all of his den mates tried to pressure him to change his mind, he held firm and in the end, all of the other six boys in his den went to the same troop, then three promptly dropped out of scouting.

We came to Troop 111, and boy scouting was new for all of us, so we embarked on the adventure together and while we have had our ups and our downs, in the end, I wouldn’t trade the experience for any in the world. Scouting has given us the opportunity to do things together that we probably wouldn’t otherwise have done. The opportunities have been too numerous to mention here. Through it all, I have gotten to watch and help him get over the rough parts and celebrate the good parts and grow into the fine young man he is today.

We are proud of our son. I suppose that is obvious, but it goes deeper than the obvious things. While we are proud because he has achieved the highest rank in scouting, that’s not all. While we are proud because he planned and executed a project that required leadership beyond his years, that’s not all.

A parents wish for their child is that they will teach the right lessons, apply the right pressure, push just enough but not too much, and that the child will, in the end, become a responsible, productive, contributing citizen, with a job, a place of their own, and have built for themselves, a good and happy and fulfilling life. While some of these wishes are still in the future, we are proud of oldest son for the person he has become, and we know that, as he sets out on the next journey of life, he has the skills, values, and compass to be successful in life.

One of the things that I admire most in you is your sticktoitedness. You never quit, you hang in there when others throw in the towel. It does not escape me that we are here today to celebrate your achievement of the top rank in Boy Scouts, an achievement that only 4% of all boy scouts reach. The reason that is on my mind is because, as I mentioned at the beginning, I was never a Boy Scout, let alone an Eagle Scout. When I was your age, I could not have done what you have done. I didn’t have it in here. The credit for your achievements that we celebrate today are yours, but you didn't get here all on your own. I am grateful for whatever small part I may have played in helping you along the path to Eagle, but I am most proud of the person you have become. We love you. Congratulations.


Heather said...

Stopping by cause Melisa told me to come read, and I am so glad that I did. What an incredible thing to say to your son, and what an awesome honor for him. I am so excited for him--He should be so proud of himself, and you of him!

The Microblogologist said...

My niece started girl scouts last year and so far is loving it. I was a girl scout until a time conflict forced me to quit, think I made it to Jr. rank. Then I joined an Explorer Post which turned into a Venturing Crew and I LOVED it! I would actually prefer my niece be in boy scouts, in my experience and observation they have a better program. I plan to provide any kid I have the opportunity to be a scout.

Your speech to your son was definitely worth reading, I could tell it came right from the heart and captured your pride in him and his achievements. Congrats to your eldest and your family for supporting him while he worked to reach this incredible milestone!

Anonymous said...

Very nice. Achieving Eagle takes a lot of commitment. Congrats to your son on his achievement.

Scott said...

Very nice. I imagine that was a tough speech to get through without welling up.

Congrats to you and your son! Great to see that in a time when so many are followers, you've helped your son become a leader.

WeaselMomma said...

You have much reason to be proud. Congratulations to you and your wife, along with your son.

Eternal Lizdom said...

What I love most is that he obviously recognizes how much you have helped him along the way and he showed that to everyone by selecting you for a Mentor Pin. That goes so nicely with the end of your speech.

And while I am here by way of Melisa, I'm actually going to check out the rest of your blog! I work in procurement and have a lot of involvement with QA, Lean, and Six Sigma!

Jim said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by. We are very proud of him and looking forward to the next journey of his life.

As Cape Cod Turns said...

Yay, Jim! That was so nice and obviously from your heart! And outstanding accomplishment for older boy and a fabulous speech by you and I am assuming a fabulous scrapbook by Melisa! You are a fantastic family!!! Congrats!