Lessons in the Scout Law: A Scout is Obedient

A Scout is Obedient.  A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobeying them.

The boys were working on their menu for the upcoming campout to Red Rock Canyon.  It was always the best campout because they could spend the entire weekend climbing rocks.  These rocks were bigger than a truck.

“Okay, boys, let’s circle up.  Ask your parents who will be able to drive to the campout.  We need at least a couple more drivers,” Mr. Bolton told the den.

Later that night, Tad was summoned to the den.  His mom was waiting with a detention slip in her hand.

“Son, you know I wouldn’t have allowed you to go to Scouts if I had seen the detention notice.  You owe Ms. Willows two weeks’ worth of homework,” Mom said.  Uh oh, she was building up a major head of steam.  When she blew, look out!

“It’s no big deal, Mom, honest.  I have a couple more sheets in my backpack that I finished tonight.  I’ll get her to sign off on it tomorrow, okay?”  If Tad didn’t do some fast talking, “You’re grounded” were going to be the next words he heard.

“I stood right there while your entire den recited the Scout law.  You said ‘A Scout is obedient’.  You can’t pick and choose, son.  You are either obedient or you’re not,” his Mom explained.  Tad held his breath.  “If you don’t get this taken care of with Ms. Willows, you WILL NOT be going on the campout.  Understood?”

Tad’s breath rushed out of his lungs.  There was a LOT riding on this.  He had better get Ms. Willows on board right away.  No way could he miss the Red Rock campout.

The next few weeks went by in a whirl of activity.  The Pack got all the rides lined up, including Tad’s dad.  Tad put on his very best puppy dog eyes and went to stand by Ms. Willows’ desk at recess.

“What can I do for you, Tad?”

“I need a huge favor.”  Tad poured on the charm.

“It will save us both a lot of time if you just get to the point.  What is it you want?”

Tad hadn’t counted on Ms. Willows not being on his side.  She wasn’t acting much like a pushover.

“Well, I kinda told my mom that I would get all my homework caught up before the Pack campout tomorrow.  So I kinda need you to sign a note that says you’re okay with my whole homework situation.  I’m okay, right?”

“Let’s look here at my grade book.  I show that you still owe me 4 pages of Math facts, a short story, all the questions on pg 112 from your history book on Thomas Edison, and the Science test you missed.  No, that’s not okay,” Ms. Willows said.  She didn’t even notice the puppy dog eyes.

“If I promise to get them all done next week, you’ll write the note, right?  Please, Ms. Willows, otherwise my mom won’t let me go on the campout!”

“Tad, you know the rules.  You’ve had all month to get this done.  No work, no note.  And according to you, no note, no campout.  Your choice.”

Just then, Wyatt stuck his head in the classroom.  “Tad, we need you to play 3rd base.”  Tad took off at a run, and Ms. Willows just shook her head.

At the next recess, Tad hung back.  “Ms. Willows, I have another page of Math facts done.  I wanted you to see that I’m really serious about getting all caught up next week.”

“That’s great, Tad.  I’ll mark it down,” Ms. Willows said.  While she was writing in her grade book, the principal called and asked her to come to the office.  “Okay, boys, I’ll be back in a few minutes.  Keep working.” she said with a smile.

Miss Willows walked out of the room, and Kelsey, the teacher’s pet, walked up to Ms. Willows’ desk and opened the grade book.

“Kelse, what are you doing?”  Tad demanded to know.

“Ms. Willows lets me mark off my papers.  I’m turning in some extra credit right now because I got all my homework done ages ago,” Kelsey announced.  “Gee, Tad, you have a whole bunch of blank spots in the grade book.   Guess you’re way behind, huh?”

“No one cares what you think,“ Tad shot back as Kelsey flounced out of the room.

That’s when it hit him.  If Kelsey could mark off things in the grade book, Tad could do it, too.  Just until next week when he would be back from the campout and he could get all his homework done for real.  He grabbed a pencil from Ms. Willows’ desk and checked off the missing pages.  Then, so he wouldn’t be totally fibbing, he quickly finished the Science quiz.

Near the end of the day, Tad finally got up enough nerve to approach Ms. Willows.  “How’m I doing on that homework, Ms. Willows?” he asked in a rush.  He made sure he was shuffling some papers around so he didn’t have to look her in the eye.

“Well, let’s see here, Tad, I’ll just check the old grade book,” Miss Willows said as she pulled her book out.  “Hum, I don’t remember you turning those pages in, but they are clearly marked off here.  Okay, I guess I’ll write that note for your mother.  Congratulations,” she said, clearly not believing what she saw.

“Thanks, Ms. Willows.  Those extra pages are probably in the homework basket,” Tad said, biting his tongue.  Tad grabbed the note before she could change her mind, and ran out the door.

By the time his dad got home, the garage floor was full of camping gear, and Mom was loading items into an ice chest.  Just as she was finishing, the phone rang.

“Oh, hello, Emily.  No, they haven’t left yet.  Yes, Tad gave me your note.  I was certainly glad to see it.  What’s that?  Oh, I see.  Well, I’m certainly glad you checked.  I know it wasn’t easy for you to make the call,” Mom said.  Tad had a sick feeling in his stomach that Emily was his teacher, calling to rat him out.

“Thaddeus Jeremiah Cartwright,” Mom yelled.   His mom used all three names.  That was a sure sign of impending doom.

Mom said, “I just got a call from your teacher.  It seems her grade book was mysteriously altered to show that all your homework been turned in, but that homework is nowhere to be found.  Well, son?”

Tad was a terrible liar, so in between sobs and hiccups, Tad told his mom and dad about his plan to catch up on homework next week, but in the meantime, changing her grade book so she would write the note.

“Go to your room so your dad and I can discuss this,” his mom said.  In a few minutes, he was summoned back into the kitchen.  The ice chest had already been put away, and his dad was putting the camping stuff back on the shelves in the garage.  “You will spend the weekend in your room, getting every bit of your homework done.”

“But, mom, I . . .”

Mom held up a hand, “Not another word.  Now go help your dad put that camping gear away while I call Mr. Bolton.”

Tad walked out to the garage and helped Dad without a word being said.  He knew by the look on his dad’s face that he had really messed up.  After the gear was stored, he went up to his room and sat on his bed, waiting . . .  Then Mom walked in with a list of homework that was to be done, and put it on his desk . . . again without a word.  This silent treatment was the worst.

Tad worked through the pages of homework and tried not to think about how much fun the guys were having.  As if his life didn’t suck enough, Mom made him write an apology to Ms. Willows.  He had to re-write it twice because the first two weren’t quite mushy enough.  Way harsh!

Monday at school, Tad tried not to listen as his friends talked nonstop about the campout.  When they asked why he didn’t go with them, he just said, “Family stuff.”

The worst moment of all was when he handed Ms. Willows his apology letter.  All she said was, “Thank you, Tad,” without smiling one little bit.

Mr. Bolton’s cubmaster minute at the next den meeting was on obedience.  Tad silently said a prayer of thanks that Mr. Bolton didn’t let it slip about Tad’s grade book episode.  This lesson in obedience was one lesson Tad would not soon forget.



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