How A Boy Becomes A Man

The Eagle project looms over a boy scout as one of those walls to be climbed before he reaches his goal to become an Eagle Scout.

Sometimes just finding the right project is a barrier to even beginning. But then a project comes. It’s approved and the planning begins—planning which cannot possibly identify all the obstacles and solutions that will arise as he proceeds. The scout’s strength is tested, and his mom realizes her influence over this boy has changed.

That’s where we are today. Newel’s finishing his Eagle Scout Project.  And after helping as I well as I could, the best help I can be now is to stay home writing the story and compiling pictures. Distance sometimes is the only way I can let go so he can grow up.

Newel chose to lead a project to relandscape the front planting beds at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The project held a definable goal: Pull out the old bushes, weeds, mulch, and dirt. Level the soil and lay new landscape fabric. Prepare for new plants to be added at a later date and fill with rock.

A larger than expected crew showed up to help the first day and momentum carried us through removal of all plant material in the front bed and all of the bushes in another. The realization that we would still need to dig out four inches of dirt over that large square footage overwhelmed us toward the end.

With suggestions from adult leaders and equipment donations offered, Newel geared up for another day of work. Except it rained. Furiously. For hours. And scared off most of the crew.

We called in reinforcements, and the rest of us plunged into the mud and began hauling dirt.


 The parking lot filled with debris and when emptied, left a messy lot that still needs to be cleaned.


The sun broke and the work continued throughout the whole day.

After the help of more than 100 man hours, the main planting bed is finished and the rest will be shortly.

A change took place in Newel the past few weeks. Even though he won’t necessarily verbalize it, he wants me to recognize it by changing myself, which prompted me to ask all of my children, “What can I do or not do to help you grow up?”

The answers they gave were strikingly similar to each other, just packaged according to their experience. Basically in nice words they asked me to back off and let them solve their own problems. They want to recognize those problems, have time to think through or talk through them to a solution and be given the room to work them out.

This project epitomized that desire, for Newel and for me. While he’s not a man yet, I can see how he’s becoming one. And I may grow up a little myself in the process.




  1. Dave
    Aug 17, 2011

    All mothers and fathers must let go at some point, even our Heavenly Father had to let go of his Son so He could do what He had to do and become what He could become.

  2. Aimee
    Aug 17, 2011

    I admire you for your ability to “see” the situation for what it is, a lesson in love. As a mother, I find it is often difficult for me to step away and allow my children to have the growing experiences that they need. My heart aches to see them struggle but sometimes they must. Thank you for being an example of a loving mother.

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