A rare photo of myself during my “bearded period,” with three scouts of Boy Scout Troop 170, at the 1985 Boy Scout National Jamboree. I found this photo in my dad’s collection of scout pictures.
The Gift of Finding Purpose
By Richard Mabey Jr.
In 1985, at the age of 31, one of the dearest dreams that my dad and I shared came to pass. That dream was to attend a National Boy Scout Jamboree. There really is not any one scouting event that is more grand and glorious than a National Boy Scout Jamboree. For myself, I made an important discovery in the week that Boy Scout Troop 170 attended this incredible scouting event.
It was at the National Boy Scout Jamboree that I discovered my purpose and place setting in Troop 170. I was the youngest of the Assistant Scoutmasters. My dad, the other Assistant Scoutmasters, and Committeemen were a bit older than me. They served excellent role models for the boys in the way of being “adopted fathers and uncles” to the scouts in the troop. My role, because of being younger, came more in the light of being an “older brother” to the scouts in the troop. It really had not occurred to me beforehand.
While walking along the road to see the many scouting displays on exhibit at the National Boy Scout Jamboree, one of the younger scouts chose to walk alongside me, as we all hiked with Troop 170. This was such a treasured moment, I remember it so well. This young scout, told me that he had to tie his shoelace and asked me if I would wait up with him. I told the young scout that I would wait with him while he tied his shoelace. As the scout tied his shoelace, out of the blue, the young scout looked up to me and said, “Mr. Mabey, you’re like a big brother to me.”
There are not words to describe what that meant to me. The words of that Tenderfoot Scout touched my heart. In a single moment, while tying his shoelace, this young boy proclaimed my Divine purpose in having stayed on as an Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 170.
Life is funny. We often wonder why we are at a certain point and place in our lives. Sometimes the obvious purpose is staring us right in the face, but we cannot see it. Sometimes, it takes the voice of innocence to proclaim a profound insight.
There have been many times in my life when I have been betrayed by fellow employees in the business world. There have been times when good friends have lied to me. There have been times when I thought for sure that a woman whom I was dating was true to me, only to find out that it wasn’t the case. Such is life.
To get through the rough currents of the harsh river of life, I have often looked back at that moment in time when a young Tenderfoot Scout stopped to tie his shoelace, looked up to me and simply said to me, “Mr. Mabey, you’re like a big brother to me.” In many ways, it gives me a boost; it gives me a sense that I’ve done something good to touch another person’s life in a positive light.
Sometimes we have to forget about saving the world. Sometimes we have to forget about world hunger. Sometimes we have to forget about international social injustices. Sometimes we simply have to reach out and do something kind and nice for once single individual.
Peace and harmony,