Eagle: Chris Keegan
Eagle Court of Honor
August 15, 2004
The Truest Leader
When people think about Eagle Scouts, they think of young men that are leaders: dynamic, charismatic, and outgoing. Looking at the young man sitting up here it may seem hard to imagine him as any of these. Chris is not always the most outgoing person you will meet. In fact, he can sometimes be quite shy. Does that make him less of a leader? My answer is to that is a resounding no.
Eagle Scouts are indeed leaders. In many cases, leaders do possess the traits that I mentioned. However, I did not mention a few other traits. Eagle Scouts are dependable. They are reliable. They can always be trusted. They also willingly accept the responsibility that goes with being a leader, even the most important one: the responsibility for others. Let me explain.
As a leader, the Eagle Scout goes far beyond leading by direction. They go farther than leading by example. They lead by expectation. They not only expect the people that they are leading to do the right thing, they accept the responsibility of them if they do not. Eagle Scouts believe that the ones that they are leading will come to them if there is a problem. Eagle Scouts allow the ones that they are leading to explore their creativity in completing tasks. In giving this freedom of expression to them, the Eagle Scout accepts the responsibility of the well being of the group, regardless of the effect on him. He is truly willing to put himself on the line for the sake of others. He accepts the blame for their mistakes, and gives them the credit for their accomplishments. That is the mark of a great leader.
It does not matter how dynamic the Eagle Scout is. It does not matter if he is a great speaker. It does not matter if he is outgoing. The fact that he will not fail is what matters. Eagle Scouts accept the awesome responsibility of all around them, even when someone in his charge errs. In doing so, even if the outcome is not as expected, he has not failed. He has done his best as a leader, and by accepting the outcome, even if unfavorable, has provided the promise of the future to those he leads.
When I see a young man do this, I cannot help but feel immense pride for him. I know how difficult it is to do. I know how hard it can be to accept the responsibility of the safety of people even when I am not in the area. All of the parents of my boys give me that responsibility on every outing. I willingly accept the responsibility. When I see young men do the same, I see more than just a scout. I see more than just an Eagle Scout. I see a peer, a brother Eagle Scout and a friend. When I see young men do this, I cannot help myself from feeling proud of them. I know that they may feel that I am disappointed if something happens. However, the truth is, I am proud of how they handle every situation without flinching.
No, Eagle Scouts do not have to be eloquent speakers. They do not have to be charming. They do not have to be the life of the party. They have to be so very much more.
Congratulations, Chris on earning Eagle. It has been an incredible journey and you have traveled it well. Congratulations to Mike and Donna. You have not just gotten a son that is an Eagle Scout. You have gotten an Eagle Scout that is a man.