The Genesis of a Scoutmaster Minute or Ramble On (Rebroadcast)

one of my most popular posts from 2014…enjoy

     Those in the know realize that I could not keep anything I say under a minute, so my Scouts call my Scoutmaster Minute the Scoutmaster Ramble.  Every Tuesday for the past 6 years (yes EVERY Tuesday plus one Saturday a month) I stand up front and tell a story that is meant to make my Scouts think.  There are tons of resources out there with Moral Tales, Inspiring Stories, Famous Quotes but since my first year I usually don’t read those and just make something up.  Not that they are bad, sometimes they are just not what I want to say that night.  I have been told my Scoutmaster Rambles have inspired; made people ponder; brought tears to eyes and, yes, rambled.  Here for your reading pleasure is the genesis of one Scoutmaster Minute.
    While walking in the parking lot the other day a vehicle next to me pulled out and scared the heck out of me.  It made no sound as it was a new electric car, the Leaf.  It was very cool and hi-tech.  My co-worker gave me a tour of it and I told myself I have to use this in a Scoutmaster Minutes somehow.  Here was my general thought process for the next 2 hours.
     It scared me because I did not hear it, I did not hear it so I was not looking for it.  I was not daydreaming or lost in the clouds, I was paying attention but not to cars, why is that?  Maybe the mind is trained so that if I do not receive certain signs of danger the rest of the senses do not register those things.  By looking at a glowing stove top I know it is hot before my hand feels the heat, so no engine noise means the eyes are skipping over cars and looking for pot holes, bicycles, puddles, tripping items.
     Now I am thinking of Hidden Dangers.  Using the Silent Car I can talk about those hidden dangers around us that sneak up on us: deadlines, peer pressure, stranger danger.  I rolled that one around in the noggin and tried several attempts, either coming to a dead end or sounding like Chicken Little (The Sky is falling the sky is falling).  Then I starting thinking of HIDDEN things like disease (Ebola), shame, guilt, Dragons (with Crouching Tigers) and got no where with that.
     It dawned on me that for some youth SCOUTING is HIDDEN from others .  Scouts don’t like to be seen in uniform and hide the fact that they are camping or doing a service project with a Unit.  For every Scout that has Scouting on his Facebook I can show you 2 or 3 that “don’t know” what Scouting is if asked in front of their schoolmates.  But I like my SMMs to be positive (mostly) so instead of wagging a finger and saying be proud of Scouting I wondered how can I get them to use Scouting in their everyday life that doesn’t scream I AM A SCOUT?  That’s when it came to me; that’s when after 3 tries in the old noddle I was able to speak out loud the basis for my Scoutmaster Minute.  A few more rolls of the tongue and it was where I wanted it to be.  A quick jot in my handy dandy notebook and I was ready.
For your viewing pleasure, My Scoutmaster Ramble:
    After work today, as I was walking in my parking lot, a car pulled out of a spot and almost hit me.  It scared me as I did not notice it!  I wasn’t daydreaming, I was paying attention to the road ahead, avoiding a pothole and a cable some guys were working on.  Apparently my co-worker got a new Electric Car and when you turn it on it is SILENT!  The car was pretty cool but I still almost got hit and I realized that because I did not HEAR the engine my brain told me that cars were not a danger to me; I did not have to look out for them.  The brain is pretty crafty and uses our senses to help us navigate life.  When we hear a buzz we look out for bees or when we smell smoke we watch for fire.  Sometimes things are invisible to us but can still affect us.  We all sit here on a Tuesday and tie knots, help one another or lead a skills demos but what happens when we are not here together?  Do we stop being Scouts?  Do we forget 1st Aid or Good Citizenship?  I would hope that the lessons we teach, the skills we learn and the morals we instill help guide you outside of Scouting even thought you don’t see the Uniform, or hear the SPL or feel your Sign go up as you recite the Oath or Law.  You might not be able to see, hear, taste or touch your Scouting experiences but you must USE them everyday to help you navigate life.  With them you are prepared for anything.  But if you ignore them and keep them HIDDEN, you will forget they are there and you might just end up being hit by a car.  
– Bryan
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