Another great meeting last night. Dodgeball has been the local favorite for game time lately and the new balls received work well with their “nerf-like” construction.
For the activity, one of our junior rangers talked to the boys about “reaction time.” Reaction time is that amount of time which elapses between recognizing a threat and taking action to deal with it. This could be recognizing that someone has thrown a ball at you during dodgeball and then deciding whether to try to catch it, duck, jump or run.
In real life, reaction times are important for professional athletes who need to have a keen eye to follow a ball’s trajectory. Drivers need to be able to recognize a hazard in the road and react quickly to avoid a crash.
We showed the boys how to measure their reaction time using rulers and some mathematics. One boy would hold the ruler upright and then release it. The other boy would need to recognize when the ruler is released and grab it. By measuring the distance which the ruler fell between each action, we could apply a formula to determine the amount of time that elapsed. This measure is the reaction time.
In talking about units of measure, we also asked the following question; “what is the measure of time elapsed between slipping on a peel on the sidewalk and hitting your head when you fall?” The answer? “One Bananosecond!”
For our story circle, we had a discussion about bravery.
Who comes to mind when you think of people who exhibit “bravery”? The boys almost universally linked bravery to soldiers and emergency service providers such as police, fire or EMTs performing their best despite life or death circumstances. That is bravery to be sure, but we pointed out that it can also carry other meanings.
For instance, isn’t it brave to: stand firm against injustices; take a risk to tell someone what you really believe even though they may disagree or reject your statements; or keep trying to accomplish a goal when you feel defeated?
We shared an example definition from the Boy Scout Handbook (from 1911); “A Scout is brave. He has the courage to face danger in spite of fear, and to stand up for the right against the coaxing of friends or the jeers or threats of enemies; and defeat does not down him.” The more recent wording is “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 also about recognizing the “right thing to do” and doing it – especially when others disagree or might mock you (i.e. “… the jeers or threats of enemies”) This is especially true when we consider our spiritual lives.
We asked the boys about accounts in the Bible dealing with bravery. They mentioned several, but most of the responses dealt with David and Goliath. We asked for volunteers to read three selections about David and Goliath.
The first selection describes the scene confronting the Israelites (1 Sam 17: 8-11&16):
Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.
1 Sam 17:32-37 defines bravery.
David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”
1 Sam 17:45-47 Shows us why he was brave – he trusted God to prevail.
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
We also talked about other situations like Daniel standing up for what was right (Daniel 1:8-10), and his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3: 15-18) being cast into the fiery furnace and surviving to show what what right.
Bravery is something that takes time to develop and when it comes to standing up for what is right, we need to learn from David that our real strength comes from God, not ourselves (Psalm 121).