Scoutmaster Minutes Starting with the Letter "H"
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How to Treat People
Some of you probably have outdoor clothing you wear that is made from Polartech or Polarfleece material. The company that makes these materials is called Malden Mills. The owner of the company is a deeply religious man of the Jewish faith named Aaron Feuerstein. On December 31, 1995 his factory caught fire and burned to the ground. The factory employed 3,400 workers and was the main employer for two neighboring towns. The area once had many mills but most had closed and moved to areas where they could pay people less money to work. Mr. Feuerstein felt that people should be paid a decent wage and so he wouldn't move his factory. The fire occurred on his 70th birthday. The workers believed it was the end of the line for their jobs. Surely Mr. Feuerstein would take the $300 million in insurance money and call it quits. While the smoke was still rising from the charred remains of the fire Mr. Feuerstein called his workers together at a school gymnasium and spoke to them. They were about to discover what kind of man they worked for. He announced that he would not abandon them. He was going to rebuild the factory. He told them that he was keeping all 3,400 of them on the payroll for one month and that each would get a $275 Christmas bonus. Once the factory was rebuilt they would get their jobs back. Grown men wept in the audience as he spoke. After the first month ended he paid them for another month. After the second month ended he paid them for a third month. It cost him $1.5 million dollars a week to do this. He also paid their hospitalization insurance. His employees responded by salvaging what equipment they could and in temporary buildings got production up to what it was before the fire, while the new factory was being built. Mr. Feuerstein received much praise from around the country but he said he did only what was the moral and right thing to do. He used his money to support his beliefs in God rather than make money his God.
As each of you lives your life try to remember Mr. Feuerstein's example and treat people you encounter with fairness and kindness. You will be amazed at how much better you will be treated in return.
Most of you probably know somebody who has a physical or mental handicap. Chances are that he or she functions pretty well in spite of it. A little limp isn't going to keep anyone from living a full life, and a person who is a bit hard of hearing probably will get along quite well with that handicap.
But some people have severe handicaps. They might be legally blind, or completely deaf, or have to use a wheelchair to get around. But we should understand that they are people just like us, with the same needs, the same desires, and - except for the handicap - the same capabilities we have. In other words, handicapped people are more like you than different.
(If your troop will do a Good Turn for handicapped people:) Remember that when we do our Good Turn this month. When you meet a handicapped person, treat him or her exactly as you would want to be treated. The person might need a little help from you, but don't fuss over him. Do the minimum that's necessary to help then back off and treat him as you would your other friends.
Those of us who are able-bodied have a lot to be thankful for. But that doesn't make us any better or worse than people with severe handicaps. We are all children of God.
Christmas and Hanukkah are, for the most people, the most joyful holidays of the year. The holiday parties, the exchange of gifts, and the brilliant lights of the Christmas trees make a guy glad to be alive at this season.
Sometimes we forget that these holidays are really religious festivals. It's well to remember that the real holiday spirit is cast by the Star of Bethlehem and the Hanukkah candles, reminding us of the miracles in times past.
In the 12th point of the Scout Law we say that a Scout is reverent. That doesn't mean that he has to go around all the time with a long face or with hands folded in prayer. It means that he does his duty to God, which includes doing things for God's other creatures. We'll be doing that later this month with our troop Good Turn.
Now remembering that a Scout is reverent, let's close with the Scout benediction.