Last night I held the final Scoutmaster Conference for a group of Webelos that will crossing over next week. The last Scout came to our meeting and asked for a conference to finish his Arrow of Light requirements.
I love doing these conferences, I get to learn a little about the new Scout and they get to know me a bit too. But most of all I am impressed with the preparation they all put into this. I suppose the campaign hat may give them butter flies, but they all have done exceptionally well.
So last night I went through the standard list of questions including, knowing the Scout Oath and Law, the hand shake, salute, motto, etc. When I asked about the Scout Oath, the Scout raised his arm and presented a crisp Scout sign and began to rattle off the Scout Oath. When he finished I asked him what he had just said. He raised his arm and again rattled off the Oath. I then asked again, “no… what did you just say?” “The Scout Oath” he replied. I agreed and then asked, “But what did you say when you said the Oath?” He answered that he was making a promise. RIGHT! He knew that the Oath is a promise we make to ourselves and to others. Then we got into the meat and potatoes. I asked him if he knew what duties he had as a result of making the promise? He said yes. And I knew from his smile that he did in fact understand the three duties of the Scout Oath. He quickly pointed to his three raised fingers and said; “Duty to God and Country, Duty to others, and Duty to myself”. He got it.
I think at times we just rattle off the Scout Oath and skip by its meaning and forget about the duties that we promise to uphold in saying the Oath. I think that in our Monday evening ritual of the Pledge and Oath, we loose the meaning of the words in the Oath. We are in a hurry to move to fun and skills that we do not take the time to listen to each other as we pledge on our Honor that we will live up to our Duty to God and Country, other people, and our selves.
The next time you say the Oath… slow down and give it some thought. It is a powerful thing to give your Honor, so you should make it count.