A Thing of the Spirit
by Jeff Hayward, 2004 National Chief
1915, Dr. E. Urner Goodman founded an organization that would have a great impact
on the Scouting movement. Our founder's vision for our Order was a program built
on the principles of Brotherhood, Cheerfulness, and Service that recognized older
Scouts for service to their unit. After nearly ninety years, his legacy is the organization
that we know today – Scouting's National Honor Society.
Goodman spoke countless times throughout his life about a certain thought, about
the Things of the Spirit. In the foreword to the 1961 edition of
of the Arrow Handbook, Goodman wrote:
|"The Order of the Arrow is a thing of the spirit
rather than of mechanics. Organization, operational procedure, and
paraphernalia are necessary in any large and growing movement, but they are
not what count in the end. The things of the spirit count…"
I'm sure that many of us have seen these words of our founder used at one time
or another, and while it is easy to grasp the main idea of what he meant, I contemplate
his words and wonder what these things of the spirit are that he refers to.
Recently, I attended my lodge's spring conclave. I had a great time seeing old
friends, working on our lodge's new ceremony site, and playing the part of Meteu
the Pre-Ordeal and Ordeal ceremonies for the last time. It was during this
time I came to a new realization. After I was inducted into the OA, I
started to get involved, first in my chapter and then on the lodge level –
working on and chairing committees, helping out with ceremonies, and running for
various lodge offices. Getting involved and active in the Order gave me many
responsibilities and required my attendance at all lodge functions, but this was
not why I went to our lodge's meetings. I stayed active because
of the feeling I got when the weekend or meeting was over – knowing that I had just
spent some time with my best friends, that we had in some way given back to our
local council or Scouting, and that we were part of a truly great organization committed
to serving the youth of our nation.
Being an Arrowman is more than just wearing a white sash or going to lodge executive
committee meetings or conclaves. While these too are important, it is about living
up to the ideals of the Scout Oath and Law in our daily lives, about setting the
positive example at all times, about being a friend to all, and about cheerfully
serving others. It is about living by the three principles of the Order of the Arrow
- Brotherhood, Cheerfulness, and Service. These are what make the OA a strong organization.
These are the things that truly count. These are the Things of the Spirit.