Andy at Ask Andy shares these Eagle Scout thoughts:
The Boy Scout advancement program is unique in several ways. First, as stated, it is based on individual effort and is achievable by one’s own vision and energies. Second, it is not mandatory in any sense of the word: If a Scout wishes to earn this rank, there is nothing in the Scouting program that can stand in his way; if he doesn’t, Scouting says that that’s OK. Third, no one “confers” or “bestows” the rank of Eagle (or any other rank, for that matter) on a Scout: He receives what he has earned. Fourth and perhaps most significant, receiving of any rank in Scouting by one individual is not determined by the judgment of others: If the work has been completed, the rank has been earned.
It is the responsibility of a troop’s adult volunteers to encourage all Scouts to advance in rank; it is not the responsibility of anyone to decide who shall advance and who shall not, or what their respective timetables will be.
Certain ranks have tenures. Some people think these are to slow the Scout down (so he can “mature,” etc.). Actually, the purpose of the tenures is to give the Scout the opportunity to put into practice what he’s learned, in a significant way.
Some people also think that “Eagle” is the pinnacle of Scouting, the end of the road, the finish-line, in a manner similar to earning a college degree. But, when pressed, these same people will (perhaps reluctantly) agree that even college degrees go beyond Bachelor, and even go beyond Doctor… Yes, there are “Post-Doc” educational opportunities! When we think of Eagle as the end of the road, the tendency is to couple this thinking–however wrong–with the fact that one’s 18th birthday ends the Boy Scout experience as a youth, and so we have young men who are encouraged to plan a seven-year program from Tenderfoot to Eagle because of a misguided connection founded on an inaccuracy. Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with a seven-year program of progress, but neither is there anything inherently wrong with a two-year program of progress! It’s all up to each individual Scout. The Boy Scout Handbook says so!