In many respects, the events leading up to this singular moment were set in motion a long time ago.
First, by mom and pop.
The ones that brought Ben into this world. The ones that have invested themselves, their time and their faith to raise him right. To give him a nudge – or two – when appropriate. To provide Ben with an abundance of unconditional love.
The ones that probably imagined this day for Ben the moment they first knew him.
Then, little by little, the three of them came to grow out into all of us. Becoming an important part of a thriving, ever-expanding, extended family.
Part of a team of friends, teachers, mentors and coaches. The troop, its scout masters, advisers. Even the Village of Thiensville. All coming together, willing to work as one, contributing the time, the talent and the treasure as needed.
Yet despite appearances or what one might think at first glance, there really isn’t a random quality, coincidence, luck or chance to any of this at all.
Because the longer I am around, the more I can appreciate an important truth.
That events aren’t ever simply set in motion.
Things don’t just happen.
This is where he – and we – are all supposed to be.
The aggregate of the choices Ben and his parents have made, working in concert with the choices made by all of us.
All pointing to a much larger and lasting purpose.
So while this day and this ceremony may be meant to celebrate the culmination of one journey, it is in reality, the start of another, wholly new.
I have to tell you.
Each time I am here, at an Eagle Court of Honor, I can feel this genuine sense of momentum.
I am moved by this conviction that there is so much more to follow.
That this achievement is setting the tone. Not just for his life to come. But to a certain extent, for ours as well.
Now I know Ben to be a good student.
And that he is becoming an accomplished percussionist. To that, the drum kit in our basement can attest.
I have seen him grow – quite literally – as both an athlete and a leader on the football field. His new vocation – wrestling – is beginning to show some promise as well.
I have seen him start to emerge as a valued friend and role model to his peers.
Oh, and lest I forget. I know that year round – even at church – it is always shorts weather.
Like becoming a percussionist, growing on the field, beginning to show and emerging with his peers, I also know that in some of the same fundamental ways, Ben’s Eagle project is just part of an opening act.
Up to now, certain events might have “conspired” to lead us here. This journey may have begun as a team effort. An important way for all of us to share with Ben who we are, what we can do and what we hold dear.
But as you know, one day, Eagles do need to fly. For that is what they are built for.
So in time, I imagine that other, new events will once again be set in motion.
But this time, they will be more so of Ben’s choosing.
Events that will beckon for his potential. A resource that can only come from Ben.
Events that can behold a future ripe with achievement, excellence and success – if Ben chooses to make them so.
Events made for Ben, because that is what he is built for.
Long ago, your parents once imagined what you would become when they first knew you.
And now that we know you, we can imagine those same things.
Time to fly Ben.
Cause that’s what Eagles do.