Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Be Prepared!

by Julie Coulter Bellon

I have an announcement to make, but I'm a little nervous to do it. Let me give you some background first.

I have five sons. That means we do a lot of scouting at our house right now since four are currently going through the scout program. However, when my oldest son turned eleven and first entered Boy Scouts, I felt lost. I knew all about the Cub Scouts and Wolf, Bear, and Webelos requirements because I'd been called as a leader of all of those dens before. But Boy Scouts was new to me. After my son's first PowWow, I was struggling to understand exactly what my son and I were supposed to do and no one seemed to be able to help me. I had one mother take me aside and tell me to keep track of everything my son did from now on—every camp, every hike, every service project—and if I did that, she assured me, he would make it to Eagle Scout. As I got myself organized, I learned by trial and error and by doing so, I learned a lot of little tricks of the trade. Several of my friends asked me how I did it, since it seemed to be going so smoothly for me and I showed them. Ever since then, I have thought that there should be a training for parents of eleven-year-old boys who are entering Scouts. Someone should take them aside and tell them what a PowWow is and why it's important to go, why it's important to keep those merit badge cards, and that when they go on a school field trip, sometimes that may count toward a merit badge. When my oldest son earned his Eagle award, I learned even more little fun things, like if you invite the President of the United States to the Eagle Court of Honor, he won't come, but he sent my son a really nice letter of congratulations. With three other boys close behind him, and one more yet to come, I feel like a veteran mother of Scouting.

However, just when you're feeling settled, you find out that there's the Duty to God award. What's the point of that award, you ask? Isn't it enough that they earned their Eagle? On September 28, 2001, The First Presidency sent a letter to priesthood leaders saying, "We desire all young men to strive to earn the Eagle Scout and Duty to God awards. We desire all young women to strive to earn the Young Womanhood Recognition. As youth work on these goals, they will develop skills and attributes that will lead them to the temple and prepare them for a lifetime of service to their families and the Lord." In the September 2006 Ensign, (pg. 32), there is an article by Charles W. Dahlquist II who is the Young Men General President and he said "Both programs become more effective in strengthening young men when leaders and parents understand the programs and can help young men set goals to accomplish both the Eagle Scout award and Duty to God award." But what is really the purpose of achieving these awards? Brother Dahlquist continues, "With the challenges that are bombarding young men today—Satan's attempts to weaken them and lead them astray—there has never been a greater need for the blessings that come through achieving the Duty to God Award. . . .The First Presidency has challenged the young men in the Church: You live in a day of great challenges and opportunities. You have been called to make a difference in the world. As a son of God, with the power of the Aaronic priesthood, you can be a wonderful force for good."

The Duty to God program is set up to be mostly done in the home, with the parents passing off the requirements, but many parents aren't really aware of the program. Did you know that many of the Duty to God requirements are also Scouting requirements that will help him on his path to be an Eagle Scout? They are not competing programs at all, but complementary programs that help boys in every aspect of their development. As I've worked on both the Duty to God and the Eagle Scout requirements with my boys, I have to say I have seen the growth both physically, mentally, but most of all spiritually within them. Their testimonies have grown, service becomes second nature, and they've cultivated habits that will help them when they are husbands and fathers. I am so grateful to have these programs available to us because I've seen the good they've done in my own home with my own children.

So what's the announcement you ask? My new book, "Be Prepared! A Parent's Guide to Boy Scouts and the Duty To God Award—What You Should Know" is about to be released. It's non-fiction obviously, and gives all the hints I've learned over the years. It's a little training session for parents so that we can follow our prophet and become familiar with the programs and help our sons earn these awards that will train them for what's ahead. I am really excited about it, but nervous at the same time since it IS a far cry from my fiction or anything else I've done. I don't know of a lot of people who successfully do both fiction and non-fiction, so I'm feeling a little anxious, but I've felt really strongly about this for some time and I hope it's a success. I want this book to be a guide to parents who want to help their boy, but don't know where to start—what I wish I would have had when I was starting out with my first son.

So, that's my announcement. I've done a non-fiction book and I think it's going to be really awesome. So prepare yourselves!

(If you want a sneak peek at the cover you can go to my website, It should be up later today.)


At 8/24/2006 1:29 PM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

Julie, that's wonderful! Congratulations! I have no doubt it will be a best seller, just like your fiction! I know I would have paid any asking price -- in gold arrows and bronze palms -- for a book like that three Eagle Scouts ago. You go, girl!

At 8/25/2006 12:11 AM, Blogger KB said...

Julie, that's cool! What a great idea.

At 8/25/2006 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will you do one for Cub Scouts, too?

At 8/25/2006 10:54 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Oh wow, I'm really going to need this book! I'm so clueless about scouting and my son is almost ten. Thanks for letting us know.

At 8/25/2006 3:37 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

This book is set to be released Sept. 5th.

I'm already in talks and thinking about my Cub Scout/Faith in God book. I've got you covered!

Maybe my boxed gift set could be called, "From Eight to Eighteen Scouting Can Be a Dream" Or "From Cub Scout to Eagle Scout and Everything In Between." :)


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