Measuring tapes are an essential tool for a carpenter; eight feet will always be ninety six inches. But measuring tapes are not indispensable and sometimes cause more problems than they solve.
An experienced carpenter will tell you that they would prefer making a cut by holding a board in the place it belongs and marking it rather than transferring measurements from a tape as it is more likely to achieve a better fit. Precision isn’t always as important as the final function of the project.
Boys, like boards, are rarely uniform featureless raw material; they have twists, knots and difficult cross-grained areas that must be adapted to the task at hand. Scoutmasters have the measuring tapes of rules, policies and requirements at their disposal and must learn to apply them just as a carpenter does. They also must learn the skill of achieving the desired results by using these tools wisely.
Houses should be secure, dry, warm and durable. Scouts should be decent people, good citizens and capable leaders. Any carpenter who insisted that every dimension of a house be consistent to the fraction of an inch would soon be frustrated; as would any Scoutmaster who made similar demands of precision in his Scouts. Both would sacrifice the perfectly acceptable for the absolutely perfect. A dimensionally perfect house may please a picky carpenter but it would function no differently than any other house.
So it is with Scouts. Each one a little different from the other, each one measuring up to the extent of their highest reach. The test of our work as Scoutmasters is not perfect achievement, but the character of Scouts.