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My man Mike Rowe and the letter

I got a crush on this guy when I first saw Dirty Jobs.  My whole family used to watch the show, cause this Mike Rowe is such a character, and the stuff they did was just…dirty…and gross.  You know, like boy stuff.  My boys also used to be in Scouting….I like some of the things scouting teaches young boys about being responsible for yourself and life lessons.  What do the two have to do with each other and why is it so important?  If you have kids, read on.

To understand “the letter”, you have to know a little bit about Mike Rowe.  I thought he was just some wise-cracking actor at first…quick-witted, but there are other quick-witted actors out there, right?  Well, come to find out that this six foot something actor….stop the drooling…. is also a classically trained opera singer, among other things………and a father of a scout asked him to send words of encouragement to his son to continue with Scouting, specifically, becoming an Eagle Scout.  Below is Mike’s response…even if you are not into Scouting, it’ll give you something to think about, and we’ve kept the letter and when the chips are down….as they will be at one time or another, we’ll get it out and read it again….take what you want from it for your own situation.


Your Dad asked me to drop you a line and say something inspirational that might persuade you to dig down deep and find the determination to make the rank of Eagle Scout. It’s a reasonable request, from a father who obviously wants to see his son succeed. But here’s the thing – The Eagle Award is not really meant for people who need to be dragged across the finish line. It’s meant for a select few, and I have no idea if you have the guts to see it through. Statistically, I suspect you do not. Only one out of a hundred Scouts make Eagle, so if you fail, there will be lots of other people with whom you can share excuses. Quitting now might disappoint your Dad, but I doubt that he or anyone else will be overly surprised. Anytime 99 out of 100 people do the same thing, it’s not exactly a shock. I’m not trying to be cute with a bunch of reverse psychology. When I was 15, there was nothing that anyone could have said to me that would have inspired me to do something I didn’t want to do, especially a stranger with a TV show. So I’m not going to assume you’re any different, or pretend that I have some influence or insight that you haven’t already heard from a dozen other people who actually know and care about you. I’ll just tell you straight up, that doing something extraordinary can be very lonely, and most people simply aren’t cut out for it. Being an Eagle Scout requires you to be different than most everyone around you, and being different is really, really hard. That’s why the award is called “an accomplishment.” Personally, and for whatever it’s worth, the best decisions I’ve made in my own life, are those decisions that put me on the outside of being cool. Singing in the Opera, working in home shopping, staring in the school play when the entire football team laughed at me, and especially earning my Eagle, were all choices that required sacrifice, hard work, and delayed gratification. I have no idea if you possess those qualities, or even envy them. But I can tell you for certain, that NOT getting your Eagle, will be one of the easiest things you’ve ever done. Anyway, I have no idea if you would prefer an easy life of predictability and mediocrity, or if have [you] the passion to follow the road less traveled. Only you get to decide that. 

Good luck,

What do you think?

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6 Responses to “My man Mike Rowe and the letter”

  1. edith says:

    I think that not only is he handsome, outdoorsy and accomplished but he's… SMART!

    I need to let my kids read this.

  2. Laurie says:

    I'm also a Mike Rowe fan. Check out some of his speeches on Youtube, he's also a very good speaker. As someone in the agriculture industry, I also appreciate his message to the public towards food production and farmers, whom he gets to know on many of his episodes of Dirty Jobs.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You should also check out his website and see what he's trying to do to invigorate the skilled trades.

  4. tootie says:

    What a neat thing! I've always like him and Dirty Jobs, but now I like him even more!

  5. vhollister says:

    I'm also a HUGH Mike Rowe fan! If you've never seen his TED talk, he is not only amazingly entertaining and he blows your mind w/his insight: Not just a pretty face….

  6. I wanted to thank you for this interesting I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to look at the latest stuff you post.

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