The Scoutmaster and the Skunk

Dale was a conscientious scoutmaster. Beyond conscientious, some would describe Dale as obsessive. “Be Prepared,” after all, is the Boy Scout motto.
At summer camp, Dale was a stickler for the rules — no room in his troop for delinquents. Every rule, of course, has a reason. Everything works better if we all follow the rules. Dale enforced the rules to the letter.
In particular, Dale insisted that his scouts bring no food or candy into their tents. Food, after all, is an open invitation for wild animals to forage in the night. The rule has a reason. Everything works better if we all follow the rules.
One evening, having gotten the boys to their tents, Dale enjoyed a moment’s reflection while washing up and brushing his teeth: everything on schedule and according to plan. He had thoroughly inspected the tents, taking away all contraband food. It was going to be a good night. Settling into his tent, Dale quickly fell into the deep slumber of a well-ordered life. Nothing to worry about that evening. Everything works better if we all follow the rules.
His sleep, while sound, would not be long. The scoutmaster had complacently overlooked one small detail. Satisfied in getting the boys to bed in good order, he had neglected to wipe all of the toothpaste from his lips. Dale awoke to find a skunk perched on his chest licking the sweet residue from his mouth.
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye,” Jesus asked, “but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Luke 6:41) Indeed, why take candy out of the tent while leaving toothpaste on your face?


Be Prepared

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Greg Tidwell

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