Tuesday, June 12, 2012

First Class Requirement 4e - Patrol Cook?

The bulk of my Scouting experience is on the Cub Scout side of things. I'm used to each rank in Cub Scouts having a specifically religious requirement, that the scout world deal with with their family.

When I started examining the requirements for the various Boy Scout Ranks, I was somewhat surprised to see that there was nothing like that for each rank. Each rank has to demonstrate Scout Spirit, by living the law and the oath in their daily lives, but there's nothing that says those examples have to be related at all to their faith.

The only requirement that I saw from Tenderfoot to Eagle that was related to faith was First Class Requirement 4e.
On one campout, serve as your patrol's cook. Supervise your assistant(s) in using a stove or building a cooking fire. Prepare the breakfast, lunch, and dinner planned in requirement 4a. Lead your patrol in saying grace at the meals and supervise cleanup.
In case you overlooked it, leading grace is sandwiched in there between cooking meals for the patrol and cleanup. My first thought was that this was an odd combination of things to sandwich together. But what do they have in common? Service and Faith.

Having been on several cookouts, I know that virtually nobody likes to cleanup after cooking. It's messy, it's often hard to do in a camping environment. You can't just throw the stuff into a dishwasher and go. It's never one of the tasks that boys in a troop will look forward to.

But, it is important, it has to be done, and it is a way of serving others. In this case, literally serving food to the others in your patrol, and cleaning up after them. Along with that, there is the part of leading them in grace.

I know that many faiths talk about the importance of service, but the best example that I'm aware of from scripture is Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him...
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  (John 13: 3-5, 12-15)
This is something that that the lowest of the servants in the house would normally do. It was considered unclean and degrading to do, and the disciples were all shocked that Jesus would take on this task of a slave. Jesus knew that a true leader must be ready to be a servant to others. That's part of the lesson we need to teach the scouts we work with.

While the written text of the requirement may not have a huge amount to do with faith, there is certainly a lesson that can be learned about faith there. When you have Scoutmaster's Conference for a boy who is going for his First Class Rank, ask him what lessons he learned, not just about cooking and cleaning, but also about serving others.

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