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Within my power


I am not a Very Important Man, as importance is commonly rated. I do not have great wealth, control a big business, or occupy a position of great honor or authority.


Yet I may someday mould destiny. For it is within my power to become the most important man in the world in the life of a boy. And every boy is a potential atom bomb in human history.


A humble citizen like myself might have been the Scoutmaster of a Troop in which an undersized unhappy Austrian lad by the name of Adolph might have found a joyous boyhood, full of the ideals of brotherhood, goodwill, and kindness. And the world would have been different.


A humble citizen like myself might have been the organizer of a Scout Troop in which a Russian boy called Joe might have learned the lessons of democratic cooperation.


These men would never have known that they had averted world tragedy, yet actually they would have been among the most important men who ever lived.


All about me are boys. They are the makers of history, the builders of tomorrow. If I can have some part in guiding them up the trails of Scouting, on to the high road of noble character and constructive citizenship, I may prove to be the most important man in their lives, the most important man in my community.


A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different, because I was important in the life of a boy.



Written by Forest E. Witcraft (1894 - 1967), a scholar, teacher, and Boy Scout administrator and first published in the October 1950 issue of Scouting magazine.



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This quote has been adopted and adapted by many folks, often without attribution. A portion of it was posted in our church meeting place, adapted to read "...in the life of a child" and listed as 'anonymous'. I was moved to post a copy of the 'original' next to it, and I was surprised to find this was removed a day or two later. I re-posted it, and THAT copy has remained up. The comparison is, I think, appropriate.

I find it interesting that often the only parts included (and edited) are the first, second and last paragraphs. It looses alot with out the mid part, don't you think?



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I suspect that somewhere along a way, a good-intentioned person thought it would be nice to change the quote from "boy" to "child", to make it more "inclusive", and since that time, the forces of PC-ness aim to keep it that way.


Now that the author and the complete piece are known, its a shame folks prefer the PC-edited miniquote to the real thing.

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