The story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all. ~Frederick Buechner


I am just back from a week at Scout camp: three adult leaders, five great boys, and a week in the woods with rifles, horses, shotguns, fire, thunder, knives, fish, axes… stuff boys love.

One evening I was returning to camp from an adult leader’s meeting and couldn’t help but relish the pleasure of being in the presence of so many decent men, youth and boys. They were simply decent, and I was proud to be numbered amongst the Basically Decent. The atmosphere of mutual respect and simple enjoyment of one another’s company contrasted sharply with the atmosphere of my home neighborhood in Chicago, where so many of the men, youth and boys (and a lot of the women and girls) seem to feel the need to be aggressively postured and posed. I sense that a lot of the kids coming home from the high school next door to Jesus People would just as soon be numbered amongst the Basically Decent, but the social environment they find themselves in requires an allegiance to the Basically Indecent. Then I remembered: all of the Boy Scouts at camp this week were from Chicago, suggesting there are in fact decent fellows in every neighborhood. This struck me as a hopeful thought, and underscored for me the responsibility I have to model Basic Decency in my home and neighborhood. Being a Scout leader is an honor, and the opportunity to take kids to camp is a privilege. And who can resist a chocolate pudding / marshmallow Pudgy Pie?

Glen Van Alkemade
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