Categories
Second Spring

What A Young Man Should Know

Lifelong Love of Learning
Lifelong Love of Learning

“What should a young male of 21 know, and what should he be able to do?

There are no conclusive answers to those questions, but they are certainly worth asking.

A young man should know how this country is run and how it got that way.

He should know the Federalist Papers and de Tocqueville, and he should know recent world history. If he does not know what has been tried in the past, he cannot very well avoid those pitfalls as they come up in the future.

A young man should be computer literate and, moreover, should know Hemingway from James Joyce. He should know how to drive a car well–such as is not covered in Driver’s Ed.

He should know how to fly a light airplane. He should know how to shoot well. He should know elementary geography, both worldwide and local. He should have a cursory knowledge of both zoology and botany. He should know the fundamentals of agriculture and corporate economy.

He should be well qualified in armed combat, boxing, wrestling and judo, or its equivalent.

He should know how to manage a motorcycle.

He should be comfortable in at least one foreign language, more if appropriate to his background. He should be familiar with remedial medicine.

These things should be accomplished before a son leaves his father’s household.”   — Col. Jeff Cooper

Categories
End Of The First Year

You Mean He Just…

“You mean he just decided to ride his bike across the country by himself?”, my wife’s friend asked her recently.

Well, not exactly. In fact, not even close. The idea of a cross-country bicycle trip had been with me since 1973.  The actual trip began nearly a decade later.  So, no, I didn’t just decide.

It was more like a dream seed that was planted while on a three-week Boy Scout bus trip across the United States.  From Pennsylvania to northern Idaho and back.  A week out, a week there, a week back.

It was while crossing the Colorado Rocky Mountains when the dream seed was planted.

Out our chartered bus window, on our way across the continental divide (elevation some 10,000 feet) I saw three cyclists at about 8,000 feet on their way to the summit.

Their bicycles were loaded down with saddlebags full of camping gear, tents, sleeping bags.  They appeared to be taking a break from their long climb, enjoying a snack and the spectacular scenery.

We sat on a bus, were young teens, and at the mercy of the bus schedule.

They were late teens, early twenties, sitting on bicycles, stopping when ever and where ever they wanted, for as long as they wanted.

To be able to not only see the majestic Rocky Mountains from that height, but to smell them, touch them, hear them….

Categories
Peak Hurricane Month

Be Flexible, Be Focused

Be flexible and  focused.  Words to live by.

And yet, sometimes I don’t want to be flexible.  There are times when intuition provides an obvious answer, and being flexible is out of the equation.

However, there’s a paradox:  When you don’t think flexibility is an option, you look like you aren’t flexible.

There are many who do not look ahead.  This goes against the Boy Scout motto that was ingrained in my young psyche.

Be prepared.

This begs a question:  “Should prepared people lower their standards for people who don’t prepare”?