Brave – A Scout is Brave. A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him.
“Come on, Wyatt, all the guys are waiting! Will you hurry up?” Tad tapped his baseball glove impatiently as he waited for Wyatt to shove books and papers into his backpack.
“What’s the big hurry, Tad? Besides, you know they can’t start without us; you have the ball,” Wyatt answered. The halls at school were just about empty. When the final bell rang, the rush for the door was intense. Wyatt caught up with Tad as they headed toward the ball diamond, tossing the ball back and forth between them as they went.
“Hey, Tad, do you hear that?”
“Yeah, sounds like a kitten or something,” Tad answered.
“It’s coming from over here, near the custodian’s closet,” Wyatt replied. The two boys decided to investigate; the idea of rescuing a lost and possibly hurt animal was enticing. They were remembering the time they rescued Leonardo, the iguana they took to the rescue center. As they drew closer to that part of the hallway, however, they realized it wasn’t an animal they were hearing, but the sound of a person. And that person was crying.
“Hey, it’s Elliot, and I think he’s hurt!” Tad rushed around the corner and saw the smallest boy in his class sitting just inside the door of the storage closet, with his head on his knees, crying. “Hey, Ell, what’s up, buddy? Do we need to call a teacher? Are you sick or something?” Tad tried to talk low and slow so he didn’t scare Elliot. He looked plenty scared enough already.
“No, please don’t call anyone. That’ll only make it worse. I just ducked in here until they left, hoping they wouldn’t see me. You guys don’t have to wait. I’ll be okay in a few minutes,” Elliot said, sniffing and wiping his nose with the back of his hand.
“Who are you hiding from? Is someone picking on you?” Wyatt asked.
“Bart and Eddy have been shoving me around some. But please don’t tell anyone. Like I said, that will just make it worse. Yesterday, they ripped my backpack and dumped my homework in the toilet. Last week they trashed the diorama that I was supposed to turn in. Last month they stole my lunch every day until I just stopped bringing one,” Elliot answered. The words rushed out of him like a faucet turned on full blast. This had obviously been going on for a while. Bart and Eddy were in the fifth grade! What were they doing messing with a little guy like Elliot?
Not knowing what else to say or do, Tad went to his fall-back position – baseball. “Well, hey, Ell, we’re going out to play some ball. Want to come with us? You can be on my team,” Tad offered. Surely playing baseball would make just about anyone feel better.
“I don’t get picked for baseball very often, so I’m not very good. You sure it’s okay?” Elliot asked, trying not to cry any more.
“Sure, we always need extra guys in the outfield. You can borrow a mitt. Come on, the guys are waiting for me; I brought the ball today,” Tad answered and held up the baseball so Elliot could see. Wyatt picked up his backpack and helped him get his stuff back in it.
As they were walking home, Tad asked Wyatt and Conner what they should do about Elliot getting bullied. Over the next few days, he thought about it a lot. Tad was trying to think of a way to get Bart and Eddy to leave Elliot alone without making Tad or one of his friends the new target.
Saturday morning came, and Tad and AJ usually let Mom and Dad sleep in a little while they watched cartoons. It was AJ’s turn to pick the program, and he picked one he KNEW Tad didn’t like at all – The Avengers of the Lost World. Tad was pretty much ignoring the whole thing until he picked up on a phrase he hadn’t heard before. The Avengers were surrounding someone with a Ring of Power. On the show, they were protecting an alien with 4 heads and 6 arms, but the idea of a Ring of Power was sounding better and better.
Monday morning during the first recess, Tad gathered up the Den 5 Wolves and pitched his idea. How would they feel about forming a Ring of Power around Elliot? He was betting Bart and Eddy wouldn’t try to mess with a bunch of them. The plan was to keep it up, hoping they’d get bored and get their kicks somewhere else. It took some doing, but Tad talked them into trying it.
So ‘Operation Ring of Power’ was born. Every time class was dismissed, at least two Wolves stuck to Elliot like glue. They made sure he had a mitt to play ball and took him to the ball field every afternoon. They swarmed him at lunch time so they could all eat together. A couple of them changed the route they walked to and from school to make sure he made it okay. Elliot couldn’t even go to the toilet without a couple of Wolves suddenly deciding they needed to go, too.
After a week, it looked like the plan was working. Yep, the Wolves were feeling pretty proud of themselves. Their plan was working so well that they started easing up. And that’s when it happened.
After the last bell rang, Tad forgot his homework in his rush to get out to the ball field. He headed back to his desk before Miss Willows locked the classroom door. Just as he rounded the corner, he saw Bart shove Elliot down and make a grab for his backpack. Tad yelled, “Hey, knock that off, Bart.”
“Yeah, and who’s going to make me? You and your little Cub Scout buddies? What a bunch of sissies,” Bart sneered, and made the Scout salute and then pretended to pick his nose at the end of it.
Bart’s challenge was clear. Tad swallowed hard and tried to think what he should do. Should he run and try to find a teacher? Should he start yelling and see if he could draw some attention? Should he scream like a Ninja and try to scare them off? Before Tad could make up his mind, he heard movement behind him.
“I guess you mean us,” said Conner. He said it really quiet, looking Bart right in the eye. Then Tad saw why. Every member of the Den 5 Wolves crowded in behind him. “Want to take us all on?” They just stood there, waiting for Bart to make a move.
“What’s the matter, guys? Afraid little Elliot here can’t stand up for himself?” Bart called, pushing Elliot down again.
“He doesn’t have to find out, Bart. To get to him, you have to go through us,” Wyatt answered, moving closer. Wyatt helped Elliot to his feet, and the Wolves crowded in around to form a ring around him.
Bart threw the backpack down. “Wasn’t anything worth the effort here anyway,” he said. “Just don’t let us catch any of you guys over on the other playground. You may not have all your little cubbie buddies around, and then it could go bad in a hurry.” Bart stomped off, not looking back.
“Whew,” said Tad once Bart and Eddie were out of sight. “Thank goodness you guys came in. Hey, why did you come in here, anyways?” Tad asked.
“You and Elliot weren’t with us,” Rusty answered. “When Conner saw Bart and Eddie headed for the wrong hallway, we guessed they were looking for trouble, and came running. Now are you guys ready to go play ball or what?” As a group, they all started in the general direction of the ball field.
“Elliot, it’s your turn at bat.” “Hey, I thought I was up next!” “Who’s turn is it in the outfield?” All the guys headed out, talking at once like usual. One of the boys tossed Elliot a mitt, and another grabbed his backpack. “Let’s get going so we have enough time to play,” he heard someone yell. “Tonight’s our den meeting, and my mom wants me home early,” Marty said.
Several of the boys turned around and looked in Elliot’s direction. “Hey, Ell, why don’t you ask your mom if you can be part of our den?” “Yeah, Ell, might as well. You’re with us most of the time anyways.” “Yeah, might as well.” “Think your mom will let you?” “Maybe you can join up in time for our next campout. It’s going to be at the beach.” Again, everyone was talking at once.
Elliot was grinning ear to ear. “I guess I can ask her,” he answered.
At the end of the den meeting, Mr. Bolton delivered his Cubmaster Minute just like always. And just like always, it fit exactly what the boys experienced this week.
Mr. Bolton said, “A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him. Bravery is doing the right thing when the wrong thing is the easy thing. Do the right thing. Be brave.”
How did he know . . . ?