The accomplishments aside, what continues to bring me up short is thinking about why it matters so much. The percentage of Girl Scouts who earn the Gold Award is similar to the number of Boy Scouts who earn the Eagle, about 5% in both cases. To earn these awards, you have to work hard and you have to be persistent. You also have to see beyond yourself. As parents, Jill and I spent a lot of time and a certain amount of treasure to help the kids earn these awards, but the effort we put into it pales in comparison to what Ben and Maria had to do. As a parent, all you can really do is attempt to put your kids in a position where they have an opportunity to succeed. It's an encouraging sign that both Ben and Maria have demonstrated that they can succeed.
We aren't leaving a very good world to our kids; the challenges on the horizon are pretty daunting. The challenges involved in Scouting, and the personal development you gain from meeting the challenges, are only the start. We're going to need all the Eagles and Gold Award winners that we can get.