The Eagle Scout and the Castle

Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout

Attending an award ceremony for an Eagle Scout is a complete experience.  The event is full of tradition, with Boy Scouts as flag bearers and candle lighters, reciting the oath and honoring their fellow scout.  Speakers include Scout Masters, State Representatives, and leaders in the community.  As I listened, the words and ideals centered on character.  Leadership, being humble, and giving service to others stuck with me.  That’s certainly Wesley.

The ceremony was quite moving.  Did you know that there is only one group of people, all of whom were Eagle Scouts? One. That group was the astronauts who landed on the moon.  I learned that only 4% of Boy Scouts of America have earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

When Wesley was in my preschool class, his favorite toy was a large castle.  He was obsessed with that castle.  He begged his mom and dad to buy him one.  He cried when they said, “No.”  So, I often had the castle available for Wesley to play with.  He never tired of this toy.  Never.

Fast forward ten years.  Every so often teachers do a major cleanout of our school’s attic.  Yes, there was the castle stored away in a far corner.  It was designated for the trash, as it was “well loved.”

“Wait!  You can’t throw out that castle!”

“It’s broken in spots and has some sharp edges.  It’s gotta go.”

“I’ll take it.”

And I did.  It went to my basement.  My grandchildren loved playing with it when they visited.  In the back of my mind I was saving the castle for Wesley.  It would make a perfect graduation present.

Four years passed, and I got the invitation to his graduation.  The event was outdoors at the new football field, so bringing along this gigantic castle was not an option.  As I pondered the best way to deliver the gift, I received an invitation to his Eagle Scout ceremony, at the local church.  There would be a reception afterwards, downstairs in the church reception hall.

I could make this work!

My husband and I arrived early, and I slipped downstairs to put the castle in the kitchen.  It was wrapped in a huge black trash bag, covered with bows and ribbons.  Done!

When the ceremony was over we all headed downstairs for the reception.  After many hugs and best wishes and congratulations, I said, “Wesley, I have something for you.  Can you get your mom and dad?”  He looked confused as I dragged out this large trash bag.  It stirred much curiosity to those close by, so there was a group looking on as Wesley opened the bag.

“The castle!  It’s the castle!!  I remember this.  I loved this castle.  How did you get it?”

And I told him the story of rescuing it from the attic years ago, and saving it for him.  His mom cried.  His dad thought surely this wasn’t THE one.  Wesley couldn’t stop touching.  He was beside himself.  Of course we all had to relive the story of the castle when he was a preschooler.

It was wonderful.

No words needed.

About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in Expressing words and feelings, Giving, Inspiration, joy, Kindness, Student alumni, Teaching young children, wonder and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

102 Responses to The Eagle Scout and the Castle

  1. beetleypete says:

    Well done to Wesley, and doubly well done to you for saving that castle for him. I bet there wasn’t a dry eye in the house! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. ksbeth says:

    This is amazing and I’ve never been to an Eagle Scout ceremony, it must be a powerful experience. What a wonderful gift you gave him in more than one way-

  3. Dan Antion says:

    Congratulations to Wesley on making Eagle Scout. That is a significant accomplishment. How thoughtful of you to save the castle for him, Jennie. These kids never forget you, but I see it goes both ways.

  4. Darlene says:

    What a special story! That castle was meant for him. It is a great honour to become an Eagle Scout. Well done, Wesley. The Boy Scout program is wonderful and teaches young people some valuable skills and life lessons. xo

  5. barbtaub says:

    [sniff!] Made me cry. Again.

  6. Opher says:

    Be prepared!!
    Well I bet he wasn’t prepared for that Jennie!!

  7. Dear Jennie… this is such a marvelous, heartfelt, smile-filled story. Thank you for sharing it here. It’s the only way some of us will have such moments. Hugs on the wing1 ❤

  8. Zambian Lady says:

    Congratulations to Wesley for the graduation. What a nice story about the castle and what a very pleasant surprise it was for Wesley. On another note, preschooler teachers are some of the least appreciated professionals out there. It never ceases to amaze me though how someone can work with children for many years, day in and day out, and still not lose their mind. I think it’s a lot of a work, rewarding yes, but still a lot of very hard work. 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed this story. Yes, preschool is both hard and rewarding. After 35 years I still feel like I have much to give children. Times like these with Wesley could not be more precious or meaningful.

  9. Yu/stan/kema says:

    What a special gift! Thank you for this story.

  10. Ritu says:

    Oh how long 🥰

  11. magarisa says:

    Such a touching story!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I think he must have been touched to the core by your memories of him as a little boy. Great job!

  13. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, this is wonderful!!! Thank you for this post!

  14. petespringerauthor says:

    I love this beautiful story, Jennie. Not all teachers develop this level of commitment toward their students. I totally get it having attended weddings, graduations,and too many extracurricular events to name here. This year I went to my first housewarming party. One thing that many people don’t realize is how much we get back from our students. It is so special that you saved the castle for Wesley and attended his Eagle Scout ceremony. I am new to blogging, Jennie, but this story is so inspiring that I am making it my first reblog EVER.

    • Jennie says:

      I’m so glad you like this story, Pete, and I know you totally get it. Aren’t we the lucky ones to have these remarkable memories and experiences! This one with Wesley was very special! I am honored to be your first reblog.

  15. petespringerauthor says:

    Reblogged this on Pete Springer and commented:
    This is one of the most beautiful and inspirational stories I’ve read in a long time. Thank goodness for wonderful teachers like Jennie, and the students such as Wesley who remind us why we do this.

  16. I loved this Jennie! Such a sweet gesture.

  17. I too am an Eagle Scout and loved this story. Thanks, Jennie.

  18. Jennie, yes, you do care, and go way beyond for your students…and the years of keeping the castle for Wesley is very touching. But the fact that Eagle Scout Wesley, young man that he’s grown into, actually was touched and ‘cared’ about that castle and your saving it for him…that’s the miracle IMHO.

  19. What a wonderful story, Jennie. My aunt had a castle [it was a Fisher Price one] and I loved it. It had a dragon in the dungeon. Unfortunately, she didn’t save it for me but I found a similar castle when my boys were small and I bought it for them. I spent a lot of time playing with them and that castle. We still have it.

  20. Oh, what a beautiful story! I’m grinning from ear to ear!!

  21. I just loved this. What a great graduation present for Wesley. I am sure he truly earned it.

  22. srbottch says:

    Quite an emotional moment for you both. Jennie. Nice! An Eagle Scout is a special person. As a former Scoutmaster, I would tell the young men that if they wanted to achieve Eagle, they could, it wasn’t impossible. But, if they didn’t donut by 18 yrs old, then they could never make it, no matter how badly they wanted. My son is an Eagle Scout.

    • Jennie says:

      You must be very proud, Steve. And that’s great you were a Scoutmaster. You know the enormity of the event. Yes, it was very emotional. Best to you, Steve.

      • srbottch says:

        Young men being guided by grown men is a wonderful experience for both. Thanks, Jennie.

      • Jennie says:

        It is! We need more male teachers.

      • srbottch says:

        I taught 4th thru 6th grades out if the block, college, for 5 years. There is no doubt that the male influence is different, so I agree with you.

      • Jennie says:

        I knew you would agree, and I’ll bet you were popular with the kids.

      • srbottch says:

        You win the bet (Oh, brother, what an ego). But, seriously, it was a time when more me were coming into the ranks and a first time male teacher for the kids. Yes, they would gather around my desk ea h morning and when I announced my pending marriage, the girls got mad (4th graders). It was a good time of my life. Those kids now have kids of their own and maybe some grandkids. Thanks, Jennie.

      • Jennie says:

        Wonderful, Steve!

  23. Ren says:

    God bless you, Jennie! You are perfect and bring so much completion to those around you. Thank you for doing this for Wesley.

  24. sjhigbee says:

    What a wonderful story:))

  25. What an accomplishment! Congratulations to Wesley!

    You got me again with this story. I got weepy. What a fantastic ending for the castle!

  26. I have no words, just a few tears.

  27. I have no words, just a few tears 😭

  28. What a great story, Jennie. And an AMAZING castle. I think I would have been playing with it all the time too. Someday, when Wesley is an astronaut, he can play with it with his children. 😀

  29. You are so wonderful, Jennie! Rememberg this for such a long time.🙂 Michael

  30. dgkaye says:

    Jennie, what a beautiful and moving story. Your kids never forget you. I always say the world needs more Jennies. ❤

  31. Thank you for sharing this touching story, Jenni. I could feel all the happy tears. My daughter and I assembled a castle and I kept it for the longest time.

  32. dweezer19 says:

    Now Im crying Jennie. I have four sons who all loved playing with various treasured items. . You are a gem, do you know that? Go Wesley!

    • Jennie says:

      Awww… that’s so nice, Cheryl. Thank you! I cried, too. And tonight I had dinner with Wesley and watched his face as he read the blog post. Big wow! I hope you saved those treasured items.

  33. dweezer19 says:

    That’s such a gift for you both. I have saved them and given most back to the boys now that they are grown. But there are a few that remain with me for safe keeping. Until..the time is right.
    “To every thing there is a season…” 😉

  34. Norah says:

    That’s a beautiful story, Jennie. I’m pleased Wesley remembered and appreciated your gift.
    I was surprised to learn of the group of astronaut Eagle Scouts. How appropriate.

  35. joylennick says:

    Hi Jennie, Thanks for reading and commenting. What a lovely person you are! Keeping that castle all that time and giving such joy to that young man is applauded. Best wishes.x

  36. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story…

  37. What a heart warming story. Thank you for sharing.

  38. This is a most heartfelt story in every way! I wonder if he would know what it was about the castle that captured his deep interest in it and I’m not at all surprised that you thought to save it for him. Sometimes the Universal Source whispers in your ear that something is important. It’s heartfelt and you went with it. Eagle Scout is quite a rigorous accomplishment. Congrats to Wesley on both counts, graduation and a significant award. Wow! Thanks for sharing this, Jennie.

    • Jennie says:

      Heartfelt is exactly how I felt. This story just had to be told. I thought he would remember the castle, but I was surprised that he knew – instantly. Marlene, I wish you had been there when he said, “The castle!” Funny how two words can paint an entire canvas. The Universal Source was there. Yes, Eagle Scout is a huge accomplishment. Have you ever been to an Eagle Scout ceremony? This was my third one. It is humbling and heartening. Thank you, Marlene.

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