I have been involved in Scouting since I was eight years old. Two of the first valuable lessons I learned from my Scouting experience have guided me ever since.
The first lesson is this: “Leave your campsite better than you found it.” You know how important this is when you arrive at a campsite after dark on a cold Friday night and find it neat and tidy with an ample supply of firewood on hand.
The second lesson is this: “Don’t leave obstacles in passageways.” You know how important this is when you need to get out in a hurry and trip over an object that someone left in the way.
Both lessons are about respect for those who come after us. Both are about being a good neighbor. Both are universally applicable.
I have interpreted these lessons and applied them in alignment with the Christian faith. I want to live my life like that. But they are words of wisdom even without the aspect of faith. I want to live in a world where others are committed to improving things and moving obstacles wherever they go. I want those who lead others – in government, in business, in the Church, in science, and in all walks of life – to follow this simple wisdom in the shaping of each day and each tomorrow.
This poem by R. L. Sharpe sums it up quite well.
Isn't it strange how princes and kings,
and clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
and common people, like you and me,
are builders for eternity?
Each is given a list of rules;
a shapeless mass; a bag of tools.
And each must fashion, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.
The Very Reverend Ron Pogue
St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church