What is an Oath?
When I was 13 years old I was asked to take an oath. The occasion was my Eagle Scout Court of Honor and the presenter from the local district had me stand in front of everyone and make the Scout sign as I did so. I felt it was a solemn and special thing. I knew many were watching me as I did so. I could sense the expectation was high as I committed to follow the promises I had made as a scout many times but adding a new and higher level of commitment to give back to Scouting more than it had given me. When I was done I thought about it many times.
I have tried to keep that promise and hone the oath. I have used it as a compass of sorts to guide me in making decisions when I think about what an Eagle Scout would do or not. I have received many valuable things from Scouting so it has been hard to keep the score even of doing more for it than it did for me, but I have tried. The joy has come in the journey more than any destination. It has been fun trying and while I may never reach that goal, I hope it has made a difference for someone else along the way.
In a world where our youth are told the old and out dated traditions of the past do not matter anymore and life is more about doing what is right for you, I challenge those ideas. I replace them with ideals of integrity and honesty as found in the Scout Oath and Law where we commit to do more than just hang on for the ride. I don’t accept the concept of those principles ever going out of style or not making a difference, they simply do. I think taking an oath is a vital part of forming who we are. I think it always will be and only those who struggle to understand that seem to differ in that opinion.
So today I proudly say again, On my Honor, I will do my best . . . even though there are changes, distractions and those who oppose, I can always do my best and honor my oaths, and I will.
Russ Tanner – Council Commissioner